Into the Wilderness


Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14, 1-4)

We can only speculate on the whispering and hushed conversations that transpired around the campfires as the twelve tribes of Israel confronted the hardships of the wilderness after their escape from Egypt. The complaining, the grumbling, the whining, and of course the surreptitious planning of insurrections and rebellions as the people longed for the “good old days” in Egypt where the work was hard, but food and water were plentiful; and they weren’t facing an uncertain future in an unfamiliar landscape. I’m sure that Moses would have had an even tougher time confronting the rumors and conspiracies if the Internet and social media platforms had been available at the time.

As I try to grasp the latest updates on the virus and try to quell feelings of guilt as I marvel at smoky sunsets fed by wildfire flames a continent away, it strikes me that human nature hasn’t really changed much since Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness. When confronted with challenges and difficult circumstances, we still do far too much grumbling, complaining, and blaming others before we get around to using our God-given talents and resources to work together and solve the problems.

While some may take comfort in the fact that we’ve seen this story replay itself over and over again at all levels of human society and that somehow, we’ve been able to muddle through, I worry that things are different this time around. I worry that with billions of people overwhelming our beautiful blue planet, with instantaneous mass communications and global travel, it’s clear that the human race has the power to create and modify our environment to an extent unprecedented in human history. But with great power also comes great responsibility, something we can sometimes find very challenging.

So it seems to me that now more than ever before, we’re living in a wilderness of our own making, and especially as this virus continues to mutate, I’m finding it more and more difficult to understand some of the extremes of human nature I see around me.

There are those who tell me to relax, to not sweat the small stuff, that God’s got this and that all we need to do is ask for his help. But I’ve never been one to ask for help and then sit back and do nothing expecting someone else to do all the work, so I plan to get a third shot if and when they offer it, wear a mask when it’s recommended, and start researching which hybrid or electric vehicle I’m going to trade for when the time comes.

Just trying to pitch in and do my part, Lord….

Jerry Kahrs

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