“For the Lord your God knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you” (Deuteronomy 2:7).
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus.
The beautiful old African-American spiritual was a testament to the struggles and the faith of the slaves of the 1800’s. Louie Armstrong recorded the song in 1962 and many more have followed. This song could have also been sung by the early church martyrs and even the Israelites who fled Egypt and set out toward the Promised Land. It reminds us that life is hard, sometimes very hard, but God is aware and He is with us.
As the second generation of Israelites prepared to cross over the Jordan River, Moses reminded them of their own history and warned them not to turn again to the rebellious ways of their fathers. Earlier, when they had neared Canaan, Moses sent twelve scouts to look over the land and bring a full report. They confirmed that the land was rich and desirable, but they balked at taking on the current occupants, fearing they would be destroyed. Their disobedience resulted in forty years of wandering to allow the unfaithful generation to die so that the next generation – hopefully wiser and more faithful than their parents – could go in. It was forty years of hardship and drudgery – “trudging through the great wilderness.” For the faithless Israelites it was long, hard journey to nowhere.
I think “trudging” is a great word to describe life sometimes. It brings up the image of weary feet-dragging and endless, pointless plodding in a dry and unfriendly terrain. Life feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it? Day after day after day of struggle and difficulty. You try to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, but even that feels like more than you can do at times. You wonder if anyone sees you. If anyone cares.
My friend, I promise you, on the Word of God and my own life experience, Someone does. Someone sees every step you take. Someone hears every sigh and catches every tear. You know who that Someone is – it is God, the Creator, the Almighty, the Sovereign One. He is watching over you, just as He watched over the Israelites in their forty-year trek across the wilderness. Not only was He watching over them, He was with them. Close enough to see the weariness on their faces. And day by day by day He cared for them. He led them. He fed them. He provided for them.
I know sometimes it feels like you are all alone in your struggles but be assured God is with you. He is near and He cares about you. He will lead you. He will provide for you. He will comfort you and encourage you – it’s what He loves to do. If He cared enough to send His one and only Son to die for you, do you think He will forget you in your daily struggles? Oh Beloved, I understand – I’ve been through some very hard times. I’m in a difficult season right now. At times I thought I was all alone – especially when my troubles were self-made. But God has always been good, He has never abandoned me, and He will never abandon you.
The Israelites found God faithful. The early church and the martyrs of the first century and beyond found Him to be the same. And so have I. He has never let His people down. He has never left them alone in their struggles. He has not changed. He is as good and faithful today as He was hundreds, even thousands of years ago.
When you think, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen,” remember “the Lord your God knows.” He is near and ready to help.
Holy Father, some days feel like I’m trudging through an endless wilderness. I need Your help and the comfort of Your presence. Help me to trust that You are watching over me and that you are with me every step of the way. Amen.