God is fond of His people. He loves them. He protects them. He rescues them. He brings them victory. There is a biblical recount that clearly displays this love He has for His people, the story of the Israelites, God’s people, who were enslaved to Egypt for hundreds of years. God directed Moses to lead the Israelites into a new land, and along the way, they saw an army destroyed, Pharoh taken down, the Red Sea parted, and clouds of fire by night. Sounds pretty intense, right? I’m not sure our imaginations can quite capture the picture of this story, but movie producers have definitely tried.
What the movies never capture, though, is what happened after the Red Sea. Once to safety and on their way to a new land, the Israelites, tired and hungry as they were, began to complain and long for Egypt. They wanted the comfort the old land had for them, even if that land was a prison. That’s right, after all of that drama, they wanted to go back to Egypt, where there was a prison with food waiting for them.
The land of the known can sometimes be easier to live in, even if it’s a land of prison, despair, or hopelessness.
I have found myself in this same position once or twice, longing for a land of known comforts, even if that land was not good for me. I have prayed and prayed for God to bring me the new job, new home, or new land, only to cry, complain, and struggle when my new land was uncomfortable, challenging, or lonely. I begged God to take me back to my old land, even though it would have caused me to go backward in life or become stagnant at best.
One particular instance was about one year ago when I moved across the country. This location was literally a new land, folks. I didn’t know anyone; I was scared, alone, and weary. So, quite regularly, I would cry out to God and say, “Take me back there!” or if I were feeling particularly bratty, I would say, “God, I’m going back, I’m not staying here!”
After a short (very short) time of God letting me have a tantrum, He clearly spoke to my spirit, saying “Rosie, you are being like the Israelites who asked to go back to slavery.”
Ouch. If I could respond to God with a text, it would have been a simple embarrassed emoji. After that, I never complained or asked to go “back” again.
In my heart, I knew what the Lord was saying was true. To go back would have been going back to a place where I was struggling, unhappy, and in a constant state of “trying harder”. I didn’t realize it at the time, but being in that land fostered an internal lie I believed that said “I needed to work harder to gain my worth.” Somehow living in a new state or new land, provided a fresh perspective and empowered me to break free from such a damaging thought pattern.
So I stayed and I took the land. It hasn’t been easy or without tears. Some of you may even remember my article about being completely alone on a holiday with no one to share the day with. It has been a slow process. But when I look at the bible and the Israelites who took the land, I am reminded that “taking the land” isn’t some encouraging vote of confidence to say when people are trying something new. The Israelites literally had to take the land away from the giants who occupied it. Our giants may not look like the ones the Israelites fought but could look like the tears of change, the pain of loneliness, the challenge of building a new support system, or the grief of missing old friends. Fight your giants anyway.
If you are in a season of taking new land, be encouraged by the many who have gone before you. There is hope and comfort for you while you defeat the giants and take the land God has promised you.