The Wilderness, Still? Seriously?

The story of Moses and the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt is one of my favorite in the Old Testament. I love and honor Moses, weaknesses and strengths and all. I love and appreciate the Israelites, even though they kind of really dropped the ball multiple times (golden calf, not killing the giants, rebelling against Moses, some of them choosing to not cross the Jordan…I wonder though, would I have been any different after being enslaved for 400 years? I genuinely don’t know).

I simply love this historical event because it satisfies the cry of justice in my heart. For a bunch of disorganized, oppressed, and dehumanized slaves to successfully rise up and gain political, social, and economic freedom from the most powerful empire of that time? Astonishing & mind-boggling. My liberal arts postcolonial academically educated mind seizes on this historical event as an utter anomaly, since there haven’t been too many known successful slave uprisings throughout history.

But this is the God we can know and serve, the God who loves us. A God for whom the miraculous & supernatural is perfectly normal & natural. He frees us from the most seemingly impossible spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical bondage. The proof is Jesus Christ, the cross, the resurrection. We just believe and trust Him to do it.

I love the story of Israelites coming out of Egypt because it fills me with wonder and hope; it challenges me to not only believe the promises of God, but to trust in His Nature.

I love Him!

There’s another reason I love the story of the Israelites coming out of Egypt: because I identify with them. I’ll be honest~ the past few months have felt a lot like being in the wilderness, depending on God for daily manna. Literally, I’ve been living week-to-week and, more frequently, day-to-day. But He has consistently provided sufficiently for each week, each day…and He’s done this for me for the past 7 years! You’d think by now I would completely stop doubting Him and absolutely REST in the knowledge of who He is. I’ve been getting a lot better at that, actually, but still have moments of relapse.

Like this morning into the early afternoon, I felt a bit of fear, doubts, anxieties trying to creep back distracting me, trying to steal some peace and joy. Not being sure how to cover the cost of going overseas, missing work (I freelance), and all the hidden little expenses that get piled into travel, plus having to pay taxes (I freelance), and then the question of who will take care of my dogs and apt while I’m gone…the wilderness is filled with uncertainty, which in my younger years I relished but then became conditioned to despise.

Uncertainty has become a fearful word in my mind only because I’ve become more and more acquainted with it…which is really annoying, if I think about it totally objectively. Don’t people’s lives get more certain, more stable as they grow older? Settle down, have a family, have a mortgage, have a career, have a 401K and savings, have a somewhat steady daily routine…yea, so not my life.

But then I had this moment in the car today (some of my best moments with Jesus happen in the car or in the bathroom. Anybody?). I thought, “Hold up. I’m not gonna let anxieties steal the enjoyment of this time with you Jesus. Yea, things are day to day. But you’re here with me in this adventure & uncertainty. Like, we’re in this together–and that’s all I’ve ever really wanted. To be with you. Psshh…ain’t no one got time for this fear.” And then I just started laughing because I felt Him there, beside me, giving me a high five at my belated smartness, and He was laughing his full and wonderful head-thrown-back laugh too.

When the Israelites were in the wilderness, living that day-to-day depending on manna from Heaven life, God was literally with them. His presence and His glory was with them. A fire by day, a cloud by night. His glory preserved them for 40 years so that not even their clothes and shoes wore out! Yea, did your jaw drop so hard you got TMJ or what?

I don’t want survival concerns to obscure the fact that UM, GOD THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE IS WITH ME.

I think this shift of reality and mentality from survival mode to faith mode is baseline crucial. And I know that it’s an experiential revelation that God’s working out of and into my bones and DNA. We’re all, to some degree and in some area of our soul, like those Israelites enslaved in survival slavery panic mode…but that’s not the dignified life of shalom, freedom and value that God desires to give us.

A part of me wants to be totally exasperated with myself, because it’s not like I haven’t been here, in the wilderness, before (see this post). Like, seriously, when am I gonna learn? But then I realize there are unending levels of deepening revelations of who God is. At the core, it’s really about knowing Him, knowing without a doubt His very nature.

He is ever faithful, ever good, ever merciful, ever righteous, ever kind, ever noble, ever true, ever just, glorious, utterly majestic, holy, infinite, eternal and Absolute. And He loves me. He loves you.

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