“He [Moses] was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:38-39
At some point in life, everyone struggles with something that makes them a less than best version of themselves. This can be a lot of different things – drugs, alcohol, food addiction, pornography, eating disorders, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy emotions are just a few examples. Whatever it is, God always offers us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), and points us down the path of healing and restoration. A path that offers forgiveness and transformational change.
But change is hard and, at times, downright scary. We can’t always see to the other side of it, and that makes us question our ability to keep going. We see an example of this with the Israelites when Moses lead them out of Egypt – out of the slavery that held them in bondage for four hundred years. For generations, the Israelites cried out to God to free them from under the hands of the Pharaohs. When God finally did, the transition was difficult and scary. The unknown path ahead of them drove fear into their hearts. So much fear, that it says in their hearts, they “turned back to Egypt.” They were afraid of what God would ask them to endure, so they thought it would be easier to just go back into slavery.
Fear of the unknown is a powerful enemy to our hope, and can cause us to turn and walk away from the path that would have healed us, and we go back to the comfort of what we knew. That familiar path may seem easier, but it only leads to death. Often times, a slow and painful one.
Tired One, I have been in this place. I can tell you from experience that once you know the truth, going back presents a more miserable and heart wrenching alternative than any unknown you may be facing.
There is an old song by Sara Groves called Painting Pictures of Egypt. I remember the first time I heard the song. I was driving in my car, wrestling with what felt like a war over my purpose. The enemy was whispering lies about how much God was asking of me, and how easy it would be to let someone else do it and slip invisibly back into my comfortable existence. I turned up the music to drown out the enemy and the words of Sarah’s song pierced my heart:
“I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacks.
The future feels so hard and I wanna go back.
But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned.
Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.”
When what lies ahead suddenly feels like too much, we sometimes look back on our past with blind nostalgia. We paint pictures of our Egypt, conveniently leaving out the pieces that caused us the most pain.
Loved One, what is your Egypt? What do you search the sands for when life breaks you? Is it not your Father in heaven who loves you more passionately and more endlessly than all the grains of His sand? You only need to have the faith of a mustard seed to believe His promises that are yours. Allow His transformation to hold you and teach you a truth that will never again fit into that past life.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16