But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”
So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.
Relate: Are we there yet? Some might argue that this is the second most heard sentence in the car on family road trips. Maybe in your family it was. But in my family, “Don’t make me stop this car” was almost never used. The parental unit said stop, or be quiet, and if we did not stop and be quiet, they stopped the car and did what all good responsible parental units do. The warning was not necessary. Are we there yet? That one was used frequently enough that once or twice it even earned a car being stopped.
Every spring, sometimes during the February break but most often for Easter, our family made the road trip from Syracuse or Rochester, New York, down to Lakewood Camping Resort at Myrtle Beach. We loved that place. What we did not love was the road trip down. I was the younger of two, and then the second of five, then seven, then eight kids. Can you imagine eight siblings from 11’th grade down to a newborn all packed into one van for a sixteen hour journey… twice in one week? I swear those can be the longest sixteen hours in a parent’s life.
I really think the trip down was always longer than the ride back. Why? Because on the way down, we are looking forward to that promised land. We had friends (Hi Julie!) who lived on that campground that we were eager to see. Of course there were miles of beautiful beachfront to walk. The campground had free mini golf, an activities center, an arcade (something I was never allowed to visit back home), and planned Christian activities for kids, youth, and their beleaguered parents. Beyond that, the weather every year seemed to be absolutely perfect. After a New York winter, that alone is worth the price of admission. All that is what we had to look forward to, so is it any wonder that every ten miles… “Are we there yet?”
React: The distance from Cairo to Jerusalem is 260 miles. Even moving at a slow and leisurely pace, the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land should have only taken a month. That time has come and gone. They took a meandering route and came up on it from the far side of the Jordan River. Lets not forget there was an eighty day delay while Moses received the Law from God and then, after a justified temper tantrum, had to go back up and get it again. Finally, the people got scared and God told them, “You will all die out here but in a few decades your kids will finally arrive.” That “month long” journey seems to be stretching out more and more. Is it any wonder that they grew impatient? I can’t even last through a sixteen hour car ride.
What have we been waiting for? What is my promised land? For me Istanbul was supposed to be a stepping stone for a few months until I was ready to move further to the southeast. Over the past few weeks I have been knocking on that door to see if I can start moving out this summer. I haven’t given up yet but that door looks locked for another year yet. I can feel the impatience building. Am I there yet? What does that wait look like for you? God, give us the patience to wait for Your timing and the wisdom to learn and develop all we can until You say, “Now.”
Your timing is always perfect but sometimes I don’t always see it. Give me the grace to wait. Please keep the poison of doubt and the snakes that question Your will and Your word far from me. Do not let me grow bitter when things seem to take longer than I would like. Instead give me the humility and the teachability to learn what I can and to become more like You even in the waiting.