If you could move to absolutely anywhere in the universe, where would you choose? I’d guess it would be either somewhere a bit leafier in the same town you’re living in now, or somewhere you’ve been on holiday more than once, or else somewhere you grew up or lived in before. The thing is, most of us like the familiar, and we need a lot of motivation to move outside of that zone. There wouldn’t be many choosing to live on Uranus, even if it were totally habitable.
So it was for the Israelites. They had only ever known the security of slavery in Egypt. They remembered that there was no shortage of food or water, however laborious their lifestyle (Exodus 16:1-3). This was what they were familiar with, and it felt comfortable. After six weeks on the march, and with nothing but desert surrounding them, the insecurity was getting to them; and anyway, where was their next meal coming from? They had lost the vision of where they were heading, and the challenges of their situation were all too great. They did what we all do best at such times – moaned and grumbled.
It’s much the same when we are spiritually challenged. When God moves us on, makes us dig deeper, requires more from us, and takes us into deeper waters, we so easily struggle and pull back. We want to stay with the old ways, cosy in our known expressions of worship, comfortable in our limitations. How hard it is to climb out of complacency!
But God has ever better things in store for us. Pressing on and allowing God to open us up to more of him is demanding, but if we stay with the limitations, we will never know how much more there is for us to experience and enjoy. You choose. Where are you going to dwell?