“The Lord Answered Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.'” -Numbers 11:23
The Israelites had to leave Egypt with nothing more than a promise of a better place, and God’s blessing. They had to end their previous relationship. They had to forsake Egypt in order to gain the promised land. It was one or the other; not both. They had to stand up and turn their backs on the bondage of the past. They had to walk away from the lifestyles they had grown so accustomed to. They left their comfort zones, their coping mechanisms, their pain, and their pasts. So why long for the former things that only cheapen your worth?
While we may view them as naive at their desire to go back, how many times do we find ourselves in the same place? We find ourselves safe from the pain in our pasts, yet walking away from them seems uncomfortably inconvenient. We find ourselves lost in transition. Questioning the decisions we made to leave, fighting our guide, and rejecting our provision.
It’s this uncomfortable, inconvenient, and unpredictable stage where the former things-despite how painful they were; begin to look desirable. We struggle trusting. We find ourselves looking upon our pasts and saying “at least we knew what our job was, at least we knew who we were, where we were going, how to make a living”.
I believe this is why the Israelites went round and round in circles. They didn’t trust the process, or embrace the present. God hadn’t let them in on his fast-forward button; He only gave them a glimpse. A promise of what was to come. Somewhere, lost in transition; Their glimpse, which was once a bright future-seemed galaxies away from their current location and circumstance. They questioned His way, because they didn’t feel it was how He should bring the promise to pass.
Maybe God doesn’t give us all the answers so that we trust the One who makes the promises instead of the promises themselves. What if He’s just waiting for us to prove ourselves faithful, trusting, worthy of the call. What if giving us all the answers would only cause us to trust in ourselves, or the promises, more than Him. “Trust Me, I’m the only way the promise will come to pass.”
Perhaps God wants us truly trust Him, beyond the voices, circumstances, and situations. Perhaps He would have us prove ourselves as Abraham did with Isaac. Even though Abraham’s present circumstances screamed that killing Isaac would surely kill the seed of promise; he trusted the Lord. Abraham knew God well enough to know that the Lord is a keeper of His word. He was confident that God would fulfill his promise- even if Isaac was out of the picture, and all hope seemed lost.
You see, promises in themselves have no power if they aren’t backed by a trustworthy source. It’s the Promise-Keeper who alone is worthy of our unfaltering faith. Too many people grow tired, weary, impatient, and unhappy because they placed their trust in “the word of the Lord” instead of the Lord Himself. So when the present circumstances don’t match up with their promise; their faith falters.
We must press onward, prove ourselves faithful, embrace the present. You never know how far, or close, you are from your promise. Longing to go back could be turning a short trip into forty years of misery and discomfort.
“God had proved Himself strong and faithful, yet, the still distrusting Nation prolonged the process.” -Pastor Mike Hayes