There is nothing more constant than change. This is a well worn phrase but only because it’s true. During my time at Air New Zealand, half of my time was spent planning for change, implementing change, and helping people cope with change. We love change when we initiate it, are in control of it or if it is simply agreeable to us but often struggle to embrace changes that are unexpected, out of our control or we primarily don’t understand the reason for it. I often think that’s why we are preoccupied by the weather so much; because we have no control over it’s changing face day by day and it unsettles us at how little we actually have control over.
These were some of the thoughts rolling around in my head while I was listening to Mike speak on transition last Sunday from Exodus 16. I did some further reading in Exodus and a few things became clear.
It seemed that the Israelites were unsettled but the unpredictably and vulnerability of their new found freedom. Back in Egypt, slavery provided security for their lives. They knew where their food was coming from, they understood their purpose in life (and could even have had a level of pride in what there built and achieved for the Egyptians?). Everything was orderly and predicable – food and shelter in exchange for work. Out in the harsh environment of the desert however, they had found themselves at the mercy of a God they were still getting to know. They felt vulnerable and missed the security of routine and predictability.
Also, I am not sure the Israelites knew exactly what they were doing out there in the desert. We know the full intent of Gods plan for the Israelites but at this point in their journey God didn’t seem to have revealed that in full yet. So God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt, but for what purpose? To die of starvation in the desert?
I can easily find myself in this story! I like being in control and the predictability of the consumer supply chain. Don’t you?
The heart of the situation seems to be knowing who our God is and remembering that during those times when our fundamental securities (or what we would perhaps consider entitlements) in life have collapsed. Even when we may understand why we find ourselves in certain circumstances we need to hold on to the character of God; not what he will do, but who he is and what we are to him. That is our stability in the ever-shifting sands. That can be a strong anchor in the choppy seas of change.