Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet … I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 29:5-6 (NIV)
Just like God left the Israelites in the desert for 40 years, He did the same for me. He didn’t leave me, but He did leave me there – in a place I didn’t want to be.
I researched the time it should have taken for the actual trip by foot from Egypt, where the Israelites left from, to Canaan, which is where they were headed – approximately 11 days. That’s it.
Instead of listening during Bible studies and learning from the Israelites, I either decided their lessons weren’t my lessons or I judged them … I would have never taken so long. Well, until I did.
Several years ago, I heard a pastor say, “Do you have idols?” He listed the common things we put before God like houses and cars and careers.
Then he looked at me, at least I think he did, and said, “How about your family? They’re an idol if you put your relationships with them ahead of your relationship with God.”
Even though I discounted what he said, I couldn’t help but hear him. Still, I justified what I’d done for nearly 40 years. Well, until I couldn’t.
There it was in plain sight … my 40 years in the desert.
All the while, I kept asking myself questions like how could God not be pleased with the amount of time and attention and money I gave my husband and children? Why would He want me to do anything other than focus on them? How could He expect anymore from me than what I’d already given to them?
Without checking with Him, I made my family my purpose. And I stuck with my plan even when it became clear that it wasn’t God’s plan. I just couldn’t see the harm in caring about them and wanting a better life for them and trying to help them get to their “promised lands” … in loving them to death.
Holding onto them finally got to be too painful. Keeping on with my plan made me miserable, which I think is always part of His plan. He’ll never bless or make our plans easy when they’re not also His plans. If I wanted to live, I had to let go of my family, especially my marriage.
It wasn’t until I heard this explanation from Prophet Jim Reilly that I understood what goes on during our dark times in the desert. He said, “It took 40 years to get Egypt out of them (the Israelites).”
I was married 42 years before I gave up trying hard and started making my way out of my desert.
On the days I need a reminder, I put this song on repeat, “Egypt” by CAIN. The three siblings sing about God stepping into their Egypt, taking them by the hand, and leading them to the Promised Land. He found them, fought for them, and freed them … and us.
We are headed to the Promised Land ‘cause we’re …
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because these blog posts are a manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. My blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is the subheading. I’m over-the-top grateful to have you here. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and comments.