Picture yourself as Moses. Though stuck in the wilderness, you have seen God part the Red Sea, lead through a pillar of fire at night, and daily send bread from the sky. The people you lead begin to cry, “We want to go back to Egypt!” They want to go back to the people who held them captive.
This scene from Numbers 14 including God, Moses and the Israelite people looks all too familiar. We find ourselves in the wilderness of life saying to ourselves, “Going back to where we were looks so much better…” Just like the Israelite people wanting Egypt, we want to go back. Back to when things seemed easier or more comfortable. Back to our old way of living.
Our journey of following Christ will lead us to the wilderness. Those seasons we ask the questions of where are we going and why are we here? The issue of belief becomes central. Not merely that the situations will fix themselves, but the faith to trust the character of Christ in the midst of the wilderness.
To go back to where we were forgets to observe how far we have come. Growth in Christ can happen without us even knowing. He leads us from insecurity of ourselves to security in His grace. We move from a self-centered perspective to the perspective of seeing His work in our lives. Even more so, our stay in the wilderness becomes strength to others. Ultimately, this leads us to the question; does the way we live reflect what we believe about Christ?
I find myself coming back to This Road by Jars of Clay. The words of this song gives hope in wilderness and the reminder of Christ’s presence with us:
All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow, carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth
Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God’s mercy holds us and we are His own
This road that we travel, may it be the straight and narrow
God give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God give us peace and grace from You, all the day through