Lessons From the Life of Moses Part 5: Wandering
(Photo by Stephanie Braconnier on Unsplash)
“Bare heights of loneliness...a wilderness whose burning winds sweep over glowing sands,
what are they to HIM? Even there He can refresh us, even there He can renew us.”
Have you ever went through a long season in your life that both stretched you and allowed you to see God move in a significant way? You thought the joy it brought would last forever. You thought you would always remember the freedom it brought. You never imagined that within days you would be doubting or complaining again. You were facing another challenge.
I wonder if that's how the Israelites and Moses felt once they finally left Egypt. They were free! No more slavery! But before long, they discovered the Egyptians were pursuing them. There was no time to rest. Then they came to the Red Sea. Fear naturally rose up in them. They were tired and on edge. Why had Moses led them out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness? How were they supposed to deal with this? They had just seen God do the miraculous over and over to get them to the place of freedom. But it looks like they weren't free afterall. Why was God letting this happen? Hadn't they been through enough?
Honestly, I can identify with the Israelites. No matter how many times God takes care of me, I'm often unsure He will rescue me when another dilemma comes along. Sometimes it's because I know His idea of protecting me and my idea may not match up. I want to be delivered from, and He wants to deliver me through. Sometimes it's because I don't trust His timing. What if He doesn't want to rescue me on my timetable? He usually doesn't. And other times I'm tired and my defenses are down. It may seem so significant to me, and I have to remind myself it's nothing to God. God can do anything! But I still face a crisis of belief each time. I love when it only lasts a few minutes instead of days or sometimes weeks. The Israelites had a choice just like we do, but it may not feel like a choice.
The Egyptians were getting closer, and Moses responds like a leader. Moses knew God would come through. He tells the people to calm down and stop being afraid. He says, "Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see now will never be seen again." When did Moses' faith grow? As he was obeying God each step of the way, his life was being transformed little by little. This is the way it happens. You look back five years ago and realize how much you have grown. But the Israelites were at the beginning of this new faith journey, and they were struggling to get it.
The Lord came through for the Israelites once again. He parted the Red Sea, and once they were across, God caused the water to come crashing down on the Egyptian army as they were crossing. They all perished. The people were praising God and full of gratitude for what He did, but before long they were back to complaining. The people continued this pattern of complaining and doubting, and it cost them forty years in the wilderness.
Did God ever stop loving His people? Never! But just as lack of faith cost them forty years, it will cost us in ways we may not comprehend. I wish I could just get from point A to point B on a straight path, but my life is full of twists and turns. It often feels like I'm wandering around when I think I could get to where God wants to take me quicker if I would just trust Him the way I want to. God didn't leave the Israelites during the forty years, and He will not abandon us no matter how long we wander about before we are ready. It may take us longer to get to the promise He has for us than it might have if we never had any doubt or never complained, but the most important thing to remember is, God is with us throughout the entire journey.
Wandering can be what God uses to purify us. We know He doesn't waste anything. Although it may not be fun or enjoyable, it is valuable. God knows how to use this time for His glory and our good. If you are in a time of wandering, just know that God is using it for His purposes. I'm not talking about wandering away from the Lord, though He uses that too. I'm talking about being stuck where you are because of fear or doubt. You may not be ready to move to the next level of what God is taking you to. He has things to teach you and faith to grow in you. So lean in and let Him do what only He can do. Let His love wash over you! He is making you ready, and you will get to where God wants you to be. God will complete the good work He has begun!