Ever have one of those “wilderness days?” You know the kind – those gray, dull days you feel like you’re wandering in circles and God isn’t listening to your prayers. All you want to do is to throw a great big pity party and invite everyone you know.
I imagine the Children of Israel felt that way. After escaping the slavery of Egypt, they found themselves walking in circles in the wilderness, eating a boring diet of manna bread and quail sandwiches. At least they had onions and cucumbers for their sandwiches in Egypt!
Rather than using the time to prepare themselves for the exciting future God had planned for them as free people, they chose to dwell on the selective memories of the lives as slaves. They had already forgotten the sting of their masters’ whips and the salty tears they drank like water.
Their musings spiraled their thoughts into self-pity and defeat, long before they ever heard about the giants in the promised land. And they accepted the imagined safety of slavery they had always known, rather than facing the fear of the unknown life of freedom.
Moses prayed that his people would use this wilderness time to get to know their God better – to begin to see him as Father, guide and deliverer – all things that would help them conquer and thrive in their new environment in Canaan. Had they done that, they would have become wise and strong, well able to possess the new land and to make it their own.
It’s hard for us to prepare for the future because we humans tend to live in the present.It’s almost impossible to change how we think unless some kind of crisis motivates us. Yet that’s exactly what Moses’ prayer challenges us to do in our wilderness journeying.
2. To contemplate the positive lessons from the difficult things we lived through.
3 To deepen our relationship with our Creator and Friend so we can trust him through the battles ahead – even if the problems take on gigantic proportions.
Father, teach me how to live like this so I may be wise and better able to cope with the days ahead. Amen