That's more than 14,000 days. How far did they travel? If you walked at the rate of 1 mile per day, five days a week, you could travel from Canada to Uganda and back in 40 years, and still have time for the occasional vacation. If you do the math in the 40-year time frame, the Israelites were camped most of the time. Either that or they were going around in circles. Or looking for something that they couldn't find, or searching for the perfect spot to cross.....into the promised land?
The easy answer is they were being punished for their lack of faith. Well that is the easy answer for this blog posting. (Side note: I do not feel like I am being punished I just think this is a great example for thinking you are doing what is right and in hindsight realizing it wasn't)
What did my wandering look like? Was I honestly going in circles, camped out or was I moving in one direction, forward and not back? Was I playing a game with God and in a competitive spirit looking for the perfect location. The game that comes to mind is Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Instead of just embracing the whole donkey was I looking for the rump and the perfect spot to place the tail?
The answers to my own questions made me think of the times when I felt like I was wandering aimlessly waiting for God to open a door....and then it hit me. HE was waiting for me to stop wandering aimlessly. He was waiting for me to stop playing the game and humble myself enough to be lead and to let down the competitive edge and let go of winning. Argh I like to win, we all like to win, I am married to a winner and he really likes to win, way more than me. So were we...the winner and the I like to win too, focused so much on the strategy and the "plays" we planned to make, that we forgot what or who we were playing for?
That was the door we were waiting to see open, the door of humbleness, the door of it is ok to wait on the defensive and not be involved in the attack and the door of rest in Me and I will show you when the time is right. So much for all the learning and reading and research and the prayer, it was not about being knowledgable at the game it was about having the faith to sit on the play and wait.
So today starts the second or third day of our embracing the donkey. We will stop trying to pin the tail in the exact spot, we will stop trying different directions to see if they are right ones, and we will stop looking each day for the open door. There is a plan for our lives and lately things have been shaken up in some great ways and our anticipation of things to come will be amazing. So my wandering is going to look more like camping, and although it did not work for the Isrealites it is going to be the right thing for us.