This post has been rolling around in my head for weeks, and I just haven't gotten around to trying to turn it into words. So here goes my rambling....
Michael Card has a song that uses the words, "that's the painful purpose of the wilderness," where he talks about the struggles Israel goes through as they wander in the wilderness.
How they turn their backs on God.
How they grumble and complain.
How they make idols and worship them.
How they continue to question Moses (and subsequently God) for dragging them out there.
And, according to Michael Card, that was all so that they would learn.
That they would see that God had a plan for them.
Lately I've been feeling like I've been in my own sort of wilderness.
Like God is out there somewhere but "hiding" from me (if I thought God did that).
And I've felt like the Israelites.
Wandering around, trying to make sense of the wilderness, and not being all to pleasant about it.
So when the song came up on my playlist one day, I found myself saying, "Yeah, right, God. You drug them out there and made them go through that ON PURPOSE? That's just mean."
But the last line of the song changes that one word. Michael Card says at the end, "That's the painful promise of the wilderness."
And I almost drove off the road as the tears flooded my eyes.
The promise of the wilderness.
I've always thought the wandering was because they were disobedient.
And they were.
So it makes sense that they'd be punished, and wandering around for 40 years seems like the God of Exodus to me.
But now I'm rethinking that.
Now I'm wondering what sort of promise the wilderness holds.
God never took the Promised Land away from Israel.
(Granted, that generation had to die, but work with me here!)
The promised land always stayed "promised."
Even in the wilderness.
They just had a lesson to learn.
And that's the painful promise in the wilderness.
God will come through.
When we learn.