Wandering in the Desert

I’ve been reading the Bible lately. Actually, I read with a friend. It was becoming far too complicated for me to navigate on my own. I know biblical resources abound, what with that there internet machine and all. But being born in the ’80s means I can still remember a time of encyclopedias and good old fashioned research. Also, the Bible is a very tricky book; you can’t just read it, you gotta feel it.

My friend and I had been talking about reading the Bible for a while, but we never actually did. Then one day we finally called each other out on it and *BOOM* our Bible study was born. We started at the beginning—duh—using an app she suggested, Replicate. It basically breaks the Bible into sections and pieces and schedules it for you. Meaning, you start off week 1, day 1. Recently, we started getting into Exodus and the part about Moses. I watched that Disney movie when I was a kid so I obviously knew the entire story, or so I thought.

I learned that as Moses and the Israelites came out of Egypt, it became apparent very quickly that Egypt had something they needed: a set of rules. For the enslaved people, Pharaoh’s rules were cruel and unusual, but they still existed. These people, who had wandered for so long in the desert, were becoming restless and needed some guidance.

These people, who had wandered for so long in the desert, were becoming restless and needed some guidance.

God picked up on that, and so came about the Ten Commandments. Right versus wrong. As I read further, I began to see that God had come up with a pretty basic set of simple rules. Direct, yet not harsh by any means. Don’t steal, don’t have sex with your neighbor’s old lady, don’t kill people. Basic.

I was a nonbeliever for 30 years, and I always knew these rules, even though I never really seemed to follow them. Right from wrong was always something that just felt written inside. Maybe that’s because of our own system of law in the US, which mirrors a lot of the Commandments. Just like with sin, though, if you break the law, there will be punishment of some degree. Whether it’s a slap on the wrist or prison time, you will always reap what you sow.

It can also be a guideline for your life. Like washing your hands, you don’t have to do it, but you should. Things will be better for you in life if you do; that is a simple fact. Just like God’s wandering people so many, many years ago, we still need that guidance today. Maybe even more today than ever. We have the sense that there’s so much more today than there has ever been, and it will progressively get more and more and more.

Under the stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, I was affected most by the inability to go to church. It’s something that has stricken me very deeply. I didn’t think it would, but it has. As a Christian who once said, “I don’t need to be in church every Sunday to have a relationship with God,” I feel a great disconnect now, after being in attendance every Sunday the previous year.

On Easter Sunday, I drove over to my church and just sat outside of it, letting the wind blow quietly through my hair. I almost expected someone to approach and ask me to leave, but as I sat in quiet observation, I saw a man sitting and working in the church pavilion. A woman sat in a garden nearby. We came because we just needed to sit on holy ground for a little bit. In that moment, I didn’t feel so alone. I realized that I am never truly alone at all, just lonely.

Those people wandering through the long-ago desert had felt unseen too. Although they betrayed God and grew tired and weak in spirit, He never left them. No matter how far away He may feel right now, He will never leave us either.

Reality Changing Observations:

1. How many times have you felt totally lost and alone in this pandemic? How have you found solace in the chaos?

2. What things in the bible ring true to help you stay focused on the good with all that’s going on?

3. Do you follow the Ten Commandments? Why or why not?

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