Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." Exodus 14:15
I am a history buff. I love researching and reading about things that happened years ago. I enjoy going to museums and touring old homes. I love history documentaries and programs. I have a particular passion for WWII, probably because my grandpa fought in the war and shared with me many of his experiences. My love of history is inherited from my dad, the history teacher, who has a passion for the Civil War and believed that family vacations should consist of driving hundreds of miles to walk through various Civil War battlefields. Although I didn't always appreciate it at the time, I am so grateful for those treks now. I find that the past calls out to me in ways that help me to better understand the present. The present comes together for me by looking into the past. And, there is the added bonus that in history you almost always know the end of the story.
Sometimes, however, we can get stuck in the past, especially if it's our past. Many of us hold onto things from our past in order to avoid moving into the future. We think of the way life used to be before the layoff, before the sickness, before the divorce, before the kids grew up. We tell ourselves that even though life might have been difficult in the past, at least it made sense.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic Biblical examples of this comes in Exodus 14. The Israelites had just left Egypt after generations of brutal enslavement. They had just witnessed God's mighty acts on their behalf with the plagues that decimated the Egyptians. And yet, finding themselves wedged between the sea and Pharaoh's mighty army these were their words to Moses:
"Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?! ....It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Exodus 14: 11,12
Can I ask for a show of hands of anyone else who has ever uttered something like this to God? It seems to be a part of human nature to revert to our past when our future looks difficult. And yet, what does God say to Moses? "Tell the Israelites to MOVE ON!!" This is sound advice for us too. We have to let go of what was so that we can embrace what is to come. And what is to come might indeed be very difficult to bear. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in circles throughout the desert while God shaped them into his chosen people. But they had freedom, they had God, and at the end of the journey their children entered The Promised Land.
It is the same for us today. If we trust God enough to move on he will part the waters for us. He will lead us through the seas and the deserts of our lives and bring us into the abundant life he has promised to each of us. So, "Forward, march!" Put one foot in front of the other and go. See the wonders God has in store for you this day.
Blessings and Peace,