Our family is in the midst of packing and getting ready to move back overseas. We have done this several times, and my wife has become an expert at packing. If I fold a sheet, it takes up a large box. If she folds a sheet, it fits inside my wallet. Needless to say, I stay out-of-the-way until something heavy has to be moved or until it is down to those things that don’t fit. Then, I try to find the space. But up until those points, I usually just get in the way.
What I do is trying to take care of the other things such as calling airlines about baggage allowances and the business details of making a move. I should have an easy life during this time. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but there is something about my character that makes this stressful. I am a worrier. If I don’t have something to worry about, I panic, because I must have forgotten something. And if something happens to cause me to think that plans won’t work out, I almost go into a panic. No one around me may realize it, but inside I foresee scenarios which have end results similar to a massive meteor striking the earth.
That is what happened to me this past week. An e-mail came that made me wonder if the plan for travel was going to work out. I panicked. I worried. I stayed up late at night so I could worry longer. Within a couple of days, another e-mail came that indicated that I had misunderstood the other one. All was well. I had no reason to worry years off my life.
In the book of Exodus, the Israelites had just crossed the Red Sea and had seen God deliver them from Egyptian slavery. Things seemed to be going well until they got to Marah. There, they found water that they could not drink. They complained and griped. They began to have nostalgia about the good old days of Egyptian slavery. God showed Moses a tree which Moses threw into the water to make it drinkable. They all drank water and moved on to a wonderful place called Elim where they found 12 springs of water and 70 date palms. (This story is found in Exodus 15.)
They were on the path that God put them on, faced a set back and panicked. That patterns sound familiar to me. It sounds like me. We often read these passages and think, “Silly Israelites. They never learn. If they had just waited on God, they would have water.” But, they did not know that. They had to learn to trust. They had to learn to see set backs as a time to wait on God and not a time to panic.
And I have to learn that lesson also.