I’ve recently been pondering the attitudes of the Israelites. While they were suffering under the control of Pharaoh, they dreamed of freedom – of living in the Promised Land. Along the journey, when they discovered that the only sustenance they would receive each day was Manna, they began to whine! They had suffered in captivity for years, so when they realized their journey going to be difficult they were shocked. They may have felt like they were entitled to an easy journey. I wonder if they became offended with God? Thinking, “We thought God was leading us into freedom, but this is terrible! He lied! We want to go back!”
It’s easy to read this story in Scripture and think, “Boy, look at their bad attitude, and what happened because of it.”
In an effort to save some money, I decided to switch cable companies. I didn’t know that there was an order I needed to follow, so I got myself into a mess. I didn’t realize that my new service was going to cancel my old one immediately. When I discovered that I’d missed the window of opportunity to easily notify people of my new email address, I became frustrated. One minute I blamed them, as I thought they should have warned me. The next, I shamed myself, as I thought I should have known better.
Two dear friends helped me get through the process. Just when I thought everything was squared away, I ran into another frustration. I fall frequently because of cerebral palsy and use a Life Line to notify people when I need help. But right after the new phone service was installed I noticed that didn’t work correctly either! The repairman came out again and assured me everything was working, but five minutes after he left, I discovered my phone was dead. A friend who was visiting helped me by calling the cable company. After we did everything they recommended, I called the repairman again. When they couldn’t understand me, I handed my cell phone to my friend. It was interesting because although she doesn’t have a speech defect, she had to repeat herself several times.
My life line still didn’t work correctly. I’d struggled all week. I was tired and didn’t want to deal with it anymore, so that I decided to call about the issue on Monday.
After a lengthy conversation, I started to feel offended when the operator said, “We’re sending someone to make sure you know how to use it.” My first thought was, “Really??? I’ve only had it for five years.” I calmed down when she added, “The equipment may not be working right.”
When the Israelites were released from captivity, they probably thought their problems were over, too. When their troubles continued, they blamed Moses, rather than seeking God.
I wonder if the Israelites assumed that because of their captivity, God was going to make their journey into the Promised Land easy. The effort to make positive changes can be frustrating. In the midst of the pain of the struggle of moving forward, it’s easy feel overwhelmed or giving up. When I surrender my agenda to God, I experience greater freedom in Him that makes the struggle worth it.