“If anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” (Numbers 21:8)

How wonderful is God’s plan! Centuries before the actual event, God foreshadowed his plan to save his people through the lifting up of his Son on the cross. He was also teaching his people that through repentance, faith, and trust they could be freed from the effects of their sin.

The Israelites had been traveling through the desert for many years; their children—who knew only a nomadic life—were coming of age. Because they had been on the road for so long, the concept of a prom­ised land seemed more like an illusion than anything they would actually inherit. They complained to Moses: “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert?” (Numbers 21:5).

In the midst of their grumbling, there appeared “saraph serpents,” whose poisoned bite caused the people to cry out for help. So God commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent and place it upon a pole. Anyone who looked upon this ser­pent was healed.

How many times have we felt like the wandering Israelites—weary from bearing our burdens and impa­tient to see an end to our own journeying? In these times of trial, we may wonder why the Lord would let us suffer. We may even grumble against God, feeling it’s not worth the effort to keep trying to follow him. Sometimes we just don’t seem to have the strength to believe or trust in him anymore.

If you ever catch yourself feel­ing this way, remember that faith is not something that you are meant to drum up on your own. It is a pre­cious gift from God, who does not give it according to your efforts but according to his love.

So look up today! Gaze on the cross just as the Israelites looked to the bronze serpent. God has an unlimited supply of grace that he longs to pour out on you today. He is ready to fill you with patience and confidence. He longs to give you a freedom over sin and temptation that you never thought was possible. And best of all, he wants to show you that he is with you every step of the journey.

“Jesus, I praise you for the power of your cross. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!”

Psalm 102:2-3,16-21; John 8:21-30