On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, "Why didn't God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You've brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!"
-Exodus 16:1-3 (The Message)
The former times have never-ending appeal. At this very moment, you may be living through a period of transition, filled with hardships. You may long for the old days, back when you were comfortable and all was well. You may question God, or even curse him, for displacing you from the place where your needs were met, and tossing you in to the thick of turmoil. It doesn't matter if, when you were there, you considered it a death pit. It was much better than the wilderness in which you find yourself.
The Israelites, likewise, suffer from a deficit of imagination and of memory. They do not remember the slave driver's whips and the Pharaoh's endless demands. They cannot imagine where Moses and Aaron, by God's direction, would have them to go. All they can recall are comfort and lamb stew and bread. The wilderness is a terror. The vision is lost; the destination beyond the imagination.
We see that the lures of comfort and lamb stew and all the bread we can eat have not left us. We see that our imaginations are weak. We settle for what we have, even if the outcome is death, rather than embrace the adventure that directs us toward the celestial city, toward the kingdom.
Our journey is akin to that of Israel, requiring a wilderness. The sojourn may be brief, but it may be fortry years. Rest may not come until our bodies weary and die, but then, even then, there is the hope of entrance into an eternal kingdom, a promised land, where a feast awaits that surpasses the comfort of Egypt, lamb stew, and bread.
The Lamb present at that eternal feast will be more satisfying.
Do you want to die in comfort, or do you want to live in the wilderness?
Find life in the unlikely place. Embrace the wilderness. God is with you.
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, guide me through the wilderness, help me to see my past rightly, and accept that the Egypt I have left may have had its comforts, but was a place of death. May I embrace the wilderness, where you are with me, forming and shaping me for your good purposes, teaching me your truths, leading me to life. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.