For the past 15 years I have been on a growth journey. I have read many books, attended many different seminars, invested and worked with several different life coaches, and it has been an incredible adventure.
Recently I discovered “The Story” by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee (in fact, our church is reading it together, one chapter per week).”The Story” is the bible, but reads like a novel, and is arranged in chronological order. It has been fantastic and very interesting.
Recently, something really caught my attention when I was reading about Moses and the Israelites’ Journey out of Egypt. I had heard the story before, but it didn’t impact me like it did this time. This was an 11 day journey, but it took the Israelites 40 years.
FORTY YEARS!!!!!! 40!!!
In fact, a lot of the people who started the journey didn’t ever make it to the promised land.
So, in reading this I became very interested in why it would take 40 years for an 11 day journey. I began to ask myself what journeys in my life are meant to be 11 days long but because of my own choices will take me 40 years? I began asking, is there anything the Israelites could have done to speed up this journey? What can I learn from them so I do not make the same mistakes in my life.
This story really spoke to me because it’s about transition (for them it was the transition between slavery and the promised land). I know all about transitions, I’ve been through a lot of them in my life and right now I find myself in the middle of a pretty big one. For that reason, I became EXTREMELY interested in learning from this story,and from these people. I wanted to learn what they did, what they didn’t do, how God responded.I really felt there was a valuable lesson for me to learn. So after some reading, researching etc. here’s what I came up with:
The journey took 40 years vs. 11 days because: (in italics, I wrote down some questions I asked myself and things I worked through in my own life)
1. They didn’t fully TRUST God-(mmmm, do I fully trust God?In everything or just certain things?)
2. Every time God would deliver them (parting the Red Sea, sending Manna for them to eat, etc.) they would praise Him for a little while, but then forget EVERYTHING he had done for them and start grumbling and complaining about their situation. (What am I complaining about today that I was grateful for in the past? Am I forgetting some of the things God has done in and through my life? Am I choosing to focus on & complain about what I don’t have?)
3. They were fearful, ungrateful, whiny, and idolatrous (they put other things above God)(What are the idols in my life? What are the things I am putting above God? Family? Health? fun? success? etc.?)
4. Many times they thought they should give up and turn back to the past they knew (even if it was slavery) vs. a future they didn’t know(Am I letting fear of the future limit me? Am I comfortable or enslaved to anything in my past?)
5. I also think God wanted to teach them about Himself and His laws, but they were slow learners(Am I paying attention to the lessons God is trying to teach me? Am I being teachable? Am I learning and improving vs. continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again?)
I am so grateful when God gives me an opportunity to learn a lesson by reading and learning about someone else’s mistake vs. when it gets real, serious, and painful in my own life. I think God uses both to teach us and grow us and I am not scared of pain, but I’d rather learn a lesson by paying attention and making wise choices vs. by suffering because of my own ignorance.