“We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you.” Numbers 21:7
Poor Moses! He was stuck with an ungrateful and rebellious people! Even after they had seen God’s mighty saving power, they still complained. Imagine saying after Moses led them out from slavery, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food.”
In punishment, the Lord sent Saraph serpents, which bit people and many died. In a way, some of us are like the Israelites in the harsh desert, with some of us dying after being “bitten” by the Covid-19 virus. After complaining about horrendous traffic, our workload, no time for family, our busy schedule, we suddenly find ourselves in a barren land. It is difficult to get food, we have to find new ways of connecting with family, friends and office mates we used to see day in and day out. It is unprecedented because it is happening all over the world.
How are we dealing with the isolation and confinement? Are we continuing to complain or are we finding that we can meet God where we are right now? Are we grumbling because we are forced to stay at home? Or are we appreciative that we have abruptly been taken out of our self-preoccupied world and dropped unceremoniously into a new place where the emptiness gives us new eyes and ears to see and hear God speak?
The desert can be a beautiful place. God can speak louder in the emptiness and silence of a desert. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Is God shouting to us right now?