The Straw Isn’t The Problem

Your problems are probably bigger than you think. What do I mean? Well, in Exodus 5, Moses confronts Pharaoh and delivers a message from God, “let my people go.” This infuriates the Egyptian leader to the point of commanding the slave drivers to take the straw used to make bricks away from the Israelites, while maintaining their daily quota.

This practically doubles the workload of the slaves. They now have to go and gather their own straw and still meet their quota. This obviously distresses the Israelites and it causes them to curse Moses for bringing the calamity upon them.

Imagine their situation. They are slaves; they have been driven from their homeland and forced to work under brutal circumstances until they die. Then Moses comes along. They blame him when Pharaoh makes their lives even more difficult. The Israelites cry out, begging Pharaoh for their straw.

Imagine as they pray to God, “Lord, please soften the Pharaoh’s heart so that he gives us back our straw.” This seems like a completely normal prayer given their circumstances. However, it’s the wrong prayer because their problems are bigger than their prayer. They are asking God to give them back their straw so they can become better slaves! They are praying to be better slaves!

This is the wrong prayer. God didn’t want to make them better slaves; He wanted to set them free! Their prayer is too small because they don’t see that their big problem isn’t a lack of straw, it’s slavery. They became used to living with this problem and all they can see is the small issue in front of them.

I see this in the hearts of people the first time they come to Peacemakers for help. “I just need enough to get through this month.” “I’m looking for $50 just for this week.” “I’m just praying that I can make enough money to survive.” “I just want enough food to feed my children tonight.” These people have a need far greater than most of you will know or have ever known. Many can’t provide food for their children each day.

I want to clarify that these prayers and cries of desperation are real and acceptable, but they aren’t the problem. Lack of food, money, or shelter is only the symptoms of a bigger problem, Poverty.

At Peacemakers, we don’t believe in just treating the symptoms. We believe in solving problems with sustainable solutions. Things like free food, shelter, and emergency assistance are all good, but they only treat symptoms. We have a team of engineers, social workers, counselors, and pastors who are dedicated to developing programs that Respond, Resource, and Restore individuals to a sustainable life of peace.

Things like job development, Freedom School, Children of Inmates, Woman of Hope, and Serving the Brave are all long term solutions that give people the resources necessary to escape the confounds of poverty. We do everything in our power to make sure we aren’t just treating symptoms. We FIGHT that bigger problem—poverty.

So like I said, your problems are probably bigger than you think, but this only means that you deserve to dream bigger and hope for greater things! God doesn’t want you to “just get by.” What problems are you facing today? Are they the real problem or are they only symptoms? Whatever it is, don’t just aim to get the straw back. Hope, work, and strive for freedom! Don’t be a slave to the symptoms, be set free.

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