Our Daily Bread | Making bricks without straw

Jennifer Schuldt provides insight in how God works behind the scenes in our lives: even during the worst times of our lives (via Our Daily Bread)

Many of us face the challenge of working with limited resources. Equipped with less money, less time, dwindling energy, and fewer helpers, our workload may remain the same. Sometimes, it even increases. There’s a saying that sums up this predicament: “More bricks, less straw.”

This phrase refers to the Israelites’ hardship as slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh decided to stop supplying them with straw, yet he required them to make the same number of bricks each day. They scoured the land to find supplies, while Pharaoh’s overseers beat them and pressured them to work harder (Ex. 5:13). The Israelites became so discouraged that they didn’t listen when God said through Moses, “I will rescue you . . . , and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (6:6).

Although the Israelites refused to hear God’s message, God was still guiding and directing Moses, preparing him to speak to Pharaoh. God remained firmly on Israel’s side—at work behind the scenes. Like the Israelites, we can become so downhearted that we ignore encouragement. In dark times, it’s comforting to remember that God is our deliverer (Ps. 40:17). He is always at work on our behalf, even if we can’t see what He is doing.

Are we listening to our Heavenly Father during those times of limited resources? During those times when it seems our heart is failing us? Or, are we focused on the worry and anxiety that comes with facing a life that is troubled? Do we feel despair and unsure where to turn to? It is no secret that our lives are prone to experience times of euphoria where we appear to be “on top” of our personal mountains; or, we are experiencing time in the valley’s where there seems to be a narrow pathway stretching out before us that leads toward the top of our mountain. It is only when we allow ourselves to faint and become discouraged that we turn our backs on the One who is capable of empowering us and guiding us toward a more loftier height of existence.