The Strange & Destructive Allure of Egypt
When my family moved to Florida in 1982 we rented a small house not too far away from the church and Christian school where my dad would be serving as a schoolteacher.
We had been filled with hope and excitement when we made the cross-country trek from Colorado to Central Florida. My parents believed that God had been in the middle of their decision, and I was eager to make new friends and start a new life in what seemed like an exotic and awesome place.
But the house was small and hot--my room didn't have air conditioning. One evening, as I was reading a book for school on my bed, a huge cockroach crawled across my chest. I didn't sleep well that night, or for the next several.
The house didn't have a washer or dryer either. My mom and I had to carry our laundry to a dirty laundromat every week. We were sufficiently poor enough that my dad had to get a part time job driving a bus at Disney World to make ends meet.
All of our hope and excitement started to fade. We all longed for our old house in Colorado Springs, and our old life there. I pined for my old friends and old school on occasion. It was a hard time for us in that first year.
It's easy to second guess your decisions when the path you've chosen suddenly becomes a lot harder to see, and the way forward gets difficult to tread.
In the Old Testament book of Numbers, the Hebrew people were poised to go into the Promised Land--the land God led them to with a promise to go before them and be their shield against the rival tribes who lived there. Instead, they became scared of the daunting task ahead of them. It was going to be difficult--more difficult than they had imagined.
"That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, 'If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword!'" (Numbers 14:1-3)It's hard to imagine a group of people who had lived in slavery to long to return to it. But when faced with the uncertainty of the unknown, most of us would choose the relative safety of what is known even if it isn't the best thing for us. And in so doing, we risk missing out on the blessing and joy that comes from doing God's will and fulfilling our purpose.
If we had never moved to Florida, I would have never met the love of my life and my wife of these past twenty-five years. My three boys wouldn't exist either.
That part time job my dad took at Disney has turned into a thirty-five plus year career with great financial, and emotional provision for my parents and for our whole family (I have never paid to take my family to Disney World--ever).
All of these things would have never been possible had we walked away when things got difficult. The way forward was unclear back then, but we kept moving forward, trusting that Jesus was somewhere out there in the distance beckoning us to follow.
May you find the strength to keep moving forward when the path is hard to see. May you find the courage to leave behind your longings for what was and trust that what is to come is even more amazing.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.