When God led the Israelites into the wilderness, he rescued them from their bondage in Egypt. But they weren’t content. He provided. He guided. He spoke. And they accepted being rescued. They lived by his provisions. They followed his guidance. They (sort of) listened to his words. But they ended up in the wilderness much longer than they expected. They wondered if being rescued was the best option. They were consistently reminded following God’s way involves ongoing lessons, discipline, and consequences.
When we read through the account of the Israelites’ time in the wilderness, we know what’s coming. We know how long it lasted. We know some of the lessons they apparently needed to learn. Do we appreciate the importance of the details of what happened during that time in the wilderness, or do we move through it too quickly? What about in our own lives?
In our own lives, we tend to focus on how to get out of the wilderness. We want to shorten the time we’re in the wilderness. We don’t like the trying times. We want to avoid those intense seasons of life that seem to be holding patterns that keep us where we don’t want to be. We want holding patterns to happen only when things are going well, so we can savor as long as possible. We want turning points to be minimal. The more intense and disruptive, the less time we want to spend in it.
Are we more focused on the “getting through” than getting the experiences that provide healing, wisdom, and discipline we need? Are we more intent on getting away from the wilderness to gathering what we need in and from the wilderness? It’s difficult to posture ourselves well in the wilderness. It’s difficult to be receptive of the lessons. We want quick fixes, but what if we asked ourselves, “What is important to remember from the wilderness season(s), and how can I remember well?”
We often stress leaving the past behind us, but when we leave out the wilderness lessons, we lessen the wisdom moving forward.