Have you ever wanted to go back?
Back to a place where life was easier? Back to a place where life was more fun? Back to a place where everything just made more sense?
I’ve moved a lot in my life - six times in the last seventeen years. And every time I do, there is always part of me that wants to go back to the place I came from. Back to my old friends...back to familiar streets and stores and faces. Even those places I was anxious to leave have come back to tempt me at times with memories of greener grass, as the hard times fade into the distance and the alluring memories of days gone by overcome me.
In my devotional time this morning, I was reading of the later years of Israel’s exodus from slavery. They were almost to the Promised Land, but they were still in the desert. As they often did, they began to complain to Moses about the manna that God was providing. They missed the food they were given for free as slaves in Egypt. They forgot about the back-breaking labor, the lack of freedom and the harsh conditions. All they could think about was meat. God heard thein cry, and like the loving parent that seeks to remind his children that they are unable to see the big picture, He answered their prayer. He gave them quail. And then He gave them some more. He gave them quail until it was coming out of their ears. And then, when they were sick from the quail, God led them to the next place on their journey.
Learning to trust is rarely easy. Admittedly, there have been numerous times in my own life in which I have questioned the path I am on, wondering why it was that God led me away from something that seemed imperfect, but familiar. The experience of the Israelites, in many ways, mimics our own - we can’t go back. We shouldn’t go back, because to go back would rob us of the promise that is yet to come. When Moses finally reached the top of Mount Pisgah, and he looked out over the Jordan, he saw a land flowing with milk and honey. The promise was just over the horizon. Only those few who had the faith to believe in the promise were able to enter. If you are in the wilderness today, keep walking, and as you walk, take the time to water the grass you are standing on. It might get a little greener.