First Congregational Church Winter Park
You must never return that way again. - Deuteronomy 17: 16
When Moses leads the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, they embark upon a long journey through the wilderness to reach the Promised Land. Like most long journeys, this one had its ups and downs.
At a certain point, the Israelites get so tired and fed up with eating manna and being stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no end in sight that they actually start thinking of going back to Egypt. Sometimes, even the worst circumstances are familiar enough that they might seem better than leaving. Sometimes, doing what’s healthy takes longer and is harder than we initially might think.
And yet, God is clear. They are never to return to Egypt. Stop looking back. The past is behind you. Now there’s only one way to look, one way to go: only forward. That was easier said than done some days.
Have you ever been in a situation where going backward, even into unhealthy spaces, seemed easier or better than moving forward? Progress, at times, is tough. Yet if we are to grow, if we are to move beyond where we’ve been and become what we are yet to be, we can’t go back. The Promised Land is still out there somewhere, the wilderness does indeed have an end, and if we just have enough patience, strength, and faith, we’ll get there like the Israelites did.
In these seemingly never-ending pandemic days, it might do us some good to remember the frustration of the Israelites out there in the wilderness and God’s directive to look only forward, not back. The Promised Land of our normal lives is still out there. We can’t turn back.
We’re gonna get there.
God who is our anchor and our compass, guide us and strengthen us on our path forward, granting us patience and resolve to keep our eyes fixed on what lies ahead and not what remains behind.