If you have children and you have ever been brave enough to venture on a road trip with them then you can empathize with me. You take months planning the trip, perform vehicle maintenance, pack accordingly (games, snacks, pillows, etc.) and you load the kids up and set out towards the destination that promises to be fun.
The reality of said trip is that I can predict with certainty when the first fight will occur, when the tears and pouting will start, and when the inevitable questions, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” will begin. It doesn’t take long, usually within the first 100 miles of our home, for the excitement of the trip to turn into grumbling.
Sometimes even the promise of a beautiful destination can be enough to stop the grumbling. I would like to say that I have no idea where my kids get their grumbling attitude but I am reminded that sometimes the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
God delivered us out of a chaotic Egypt and brought us safely to Honolulu, Hawaii (my husband’s home of record). Ironically, my husband who was born and raised in Hawaii has never been assigned back to his home state in eighteen plus years of military service. It was pretty amazing that it took a revolution to take us home.
Hawaii for some people is heaven on Earth. I admit, that when you exit the airport and the tropical sea breeze and fragrant scents of the Plumeria flower welcome you, there really is no other place like it. Yet, it didn’t take long for the excitement to wear off and I became a grumbler like my children, like the Hebrews.
In Exodus, God leads (Ex. 13:21) His people out of Egypt and into the desert on a journey to the Promise Land that is filled with milk and honey (Ex. 3:8). A land that was not like Egypt. A land where they would be free. A land God promised to them. What did they do? They grumbled (Ex. 14:10). They complained (Ex. 16:3). They challenged God (Ex. 17:2).
Sadly, the story of the grumbling Hebrews reflects my own attitude and behavior while I was sitting in beautiful Hawaii, safe and provided for. I grumbled. I complained. I challenged God. Why would He send me to Egypt only to rip my family out of there and put us in a temporary home? I didn’t know how long we were going to be out of Egypt or if we were ever going to return. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go back. I was confused, scared and I wanted to know what God was doing with my life.
It was in the midst of these grumblings, complaints and questions that, once again, God brought me to my knees. Moses answered the grumbling Hebrews, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” Exodus 14:14. I needed to be still so that I could hear the plans God was laying out for my life. I needed to be still so I could grow close to Him and trust Him. It was the only way. So I got still. I prayed more passionately. I became more thankful. I recognized that God was with me in Egypt and He was with me in Hawaii. I was not alone in this and He was going to make sure that I knew that.