So, the other day I was watching an old 80’s movie. The film started in a park, on Easter, with kids running and playing together. Adults were hugging each other, saying hello. There were people having a picnic together. There was an Easter egg hunt. It was sweet. (The movie was Steel Magnolias for anyone who wants to know. And of course I was bawling at the end!)
Then you know what happened? I got really sad. Because those were the good old days when we could be around each other. We could hug, shake hands, stand closer together than six feet, meet friends for a picnic, WITHOUT MASKS! It seems like so long ago! I never thought I would see the day when I would get sad about something like that. You know, not being able to be around people? I feel like we are living in a sci-fi movie. Anyone else feel that way? With the masks on everyone?!
And then came the time when we finally got to move forward a bit. Stores opened, restaurants opened, churches were allowed to open up for in-person services… one step forward!!! Oops, just kidding, two steps back. Come on, Father! I know you can do anything! Why would you give it and then take it away. We were almost there! Almost to the ‘promised land’. What now?
And there it is again…’Do you trust me?’
I started to feel a bit like a complainer. Like when the Israelites left Egypt and started their trek to the promised land. They started complaining right from the start! Exodus 14:10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Seriously? They are basically telling Moses they would rather be owned, in slavery, most likely treated horribly, work every single day in the hot sun… until they die! They wanted to go back to the way things were. Kind of like how a lot of people are feeling right now.
That wasn’t the only time they complained. They complained about not having water. Exodus 17:3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?’
They complained about not having food. Exodus 16:3 The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’
At another point in time, they decided that Moses took too long on the mountain with the Lord, so they made their own idol as their god. Exodus 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’
Even though they had seen time and time again what God will do for His people, they still weren’t trusting Him. I mean, come on! They saw the Red Sea part and walked through it on DRY LAND! There was a pillar of cloud by day to lead them and a pillar of fire by night to lead them. They saw water come out of a rock. And each evening quail came to them and each morning manna fell from the sky to feed them! How can they still doubt? Man these people are hard headed!! And what should have been a 11 day trip to the promised land ended up being a 40 year trip!
But if I’m being honest, I’m just as hard headed as them! I’ve been grumbling and complaining. I’ve been quick to get mad at God because he hasn’t fixed things. I’ve been sitting here saying, why can’t we go back to the way things were? We were much better off! People can get ‘herd immunity’! Wear your mask, open everything back up!
Yet God is so patient with us! I can’t see what God can see. He sees the big picture. And when I say things like 99% of people recover from this virus, I need to remember that people aren’t just a number! What about those 1% that lose their lives, or could lose their lives? What about how I go around reminding people that God leaves the 99 for the 1? Does that 1 only matter when I talk about specific things? No! That 1 always matters to God and should also matter to me! Am I just caring about myself at that point? Because I know God doesn’t teach me to be selfish like that. But if I’m honest, I have been having those selfish thoughts and I don’t want to be that way.
So, will I trust God? YES! Will I do what my Father asks through this pandemic? YES!! Will I continue to complain and grumble and moan? (I may screw up on this one every once in a while, but I am going to try really hard not to!)
God knows what He’s doing, He knows how things will happen. He’s still on His throne! He’s still the one who is ultimately in control no matter what anyone thinks!
And do I really want things to go back to the way they were? I see how much I’ve grown through these times and how much I am continuing to grow. How my relationship with Jesus is so much stronger. I see how many people are coming to Him at food pantries. I see things starting to change for my black sisters and brothers and people of color. Eyes are being opened. Conversations are happening. Our Father’s family is growing!! Maybe through this pandemic, He is transforming His people in this world for the better. Let’s just hold on a bit longer! He’s got this!