Staring at the Ceiling



I'm just going to be honest and tell the world; last night I was in a very dark place.

I had finished my evening routine combing through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter doing my nightly "research" (if you know, you know, and if you're female, you probably do), when the most incredible, deep sense of hopelessness came on me.  Honestly, the hopelessness is always there just creeping below the surface of my conscience mind.  Usually I keep it at bay with noise and lots of distractions.  Last night was just a fluke.  My routine failed to keep the darkness at bay.  On my wilderness journey I have noticed my frustration does show up in my attitudes.  Thankfully, my closest friend and my family usually can over look my negativity and judgmental attitude with grace.  Then again, it's my tendency to retreat into secrecy during stress causes me to shut out those people I need the most.

It's just this vicious cycle.

But, last night, in those moments of inaudible, breathless wails, pounding my fists at the sky, I began to understand Moses's great sin--the very sin that prevented him from the Promise Land.  In the account recorded in Numbers 20, I don't believe that Moses ever intended to disobey God.  I do, however, believe he was frustrated and angry and sad and very, very lonely.  I think the pressure of the people demanding water in a wilderness--a literal desert--was a little too much for him.  I think the grief of burying his sister, Miriam, the girl who watched through reeds in the Nile, weighed on his heart.  Moses and Aaron were gaining in years, and I sure the pressure of mentoring a replacement for his brother and himself consumed his thoughts.  So, when God tells him to speak to the rock rather than to hit the rock as he had in Exodus 17, I can understand the mess up.  I don't believe it was intentional.  I believe his actions were the result of pent up emotion and passion.

Whatever his intention, the act of striking rather than speaking to the rock disqualified Moses from the Promise Land.  God still miraculously provided the water, but Moses would never step foot into the Land of Promise.

Knowing these results of Moses's mistake frightens me deeply.  I don't want to miss my Promise Land because of my obedience in the wilderness.  To take a cue from the popular Tik-Toc video, I wish there was a switch I could flip that would change my feelings, and I, for sure, wish there was a switch that would change my circumstances.  Right now, I desperately miss the carefree, fun-loving, adventure seeker that lives on the inside of me.  If I knew how to find her I would chase her down and capture her and never let her go.  Part of me thinks I left her on a mountain side staring head first into the wind tempting fate to just try and blow me to the rocks below.  And maybe I did leave her there.  But how do I get her back?  How do I find my way back to that place?

I still believe that light will always find me.  I still believe that God is for me.  I still believe that God is good and gracious and loving.  I still passionately believe He possesses all of those qualities.  I still believe that God is fighting for me.  I still believe He's working.

It's just last night...last night was a hard night.  And I'm thankful that God is okay with my hard nights.  And He's okay with yours too.  He's strong enough to shoulder them.  And you know what else?  He's still working even on your hard nights and the mornings after.

This morning, I woke up, looked in the mirror at eyes that were a little more swollen and red than usual, and then I moved on.  I'm going to be faithful.  I'm going to pursue His presence.  I'm going to strive for holiness.  I'm going to trust God even if it's a little darker than normal.

When I do think about Moses and his mistake, I have to remember this: he didn't set foot in the Promise Land, but he did get to see it.  He looked down off of his mountain, wind blowing in his face, and saw the Promise Land.  There was grace for his dark place too.
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