Do you ever find yourself occasionally longing for another time or place in your life? A time when you recall certain things or circumstances with fondness, and you have a desire to return there, if only for a moment? I know that I do.
For me some of these longings include a time with my children or a particular scene on a vacation. And in all honesty, in my case more often than not these longings involve running. I'll be out on my run and find my mind wandering back to a particular day and I long to be able to run at a certain pace again, or to re-live a particular competitive moment. Those days are, as they say, in the history books. I might recall them fondly but there is no going back.
When I was a new Christian I used to look back on some of my sins that way. Sure, I had learned that I shouldn't do them because God said so, but they felt so good! It hardly seemed right that something that delighted me in a particular way should have to be left at the wayside. Turns out that for God's people this is a way of looking at things that is very old, and likely very common.
I was reading from Exodus and the Hebrews were in a tough spot. They were fleeing from slavery in Egypt and reached the Red Sea, a seemingly impassable barrier. Faced with the sea in front, they also know that the army of Egypt is chasing them and closing in from behind. And so in this predicament the people cry out to Moses, saying:
"What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: "Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."
The Hebrew people see the choice starkly. Serve as slaves or die in the wilderness. What they have lost track of is the fact that they are God's chosen people and that they are in the wilderness because He is leading them there. In a moment of crisis they long for the familiarity of slavery.
But the thing is that God loves them too much to let them remain as slaves. He is leading them to freedom. The road may be bumpy but He is, as they say, "driving the bus."
This God, the One True God, is doing the same thing today. He is reaching into the lives of His children, snatching them from slavery to sin, and setting them free. And I might add that He does this without asking anyone's permission.
As a person grows as a Christian they learn that those "good old days," separated from Christ and oblivious to that fact, weren't so good. They learn that those sins that felt so good weren't just an illusion. They were a delusion.
As a child of God, know that God loves you too much to let you stay in slavery to sin. He has set you free in Christ and He is taking you to an infinitely better destination. The road may be rough at times but nothing will compare to the joy you'll know when you arrive. Amen.