In one of the most unusual contests of all time, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic won the day. And, of course, there were fish for the taking: “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost …” (Numbers 11:5) Surely, Moses had to admit defeat – there was no contest to speak of. What was he offering? Manna and quails on one day, and quails and manna on another. Yes, with a little ingenuity and judicious use of oil, manna could be coaxed into tasting a little more like cake. But for days, and weeks, and months?
Forgotten were the hardships and conditions of slavery. In such a transition, even the Past mesmerises with a surreal glow. The Present doesn’t look good and the Future loses all its attractiveness. Let’s turn around and go back where we came from, for taste has trounced freedom.
For the children of Israel, being stuck in transition was the outcome of disobedience and disbelief! They left Egypt under heroic circumstances but never made it into Canaan, the Promised Land (except for Joshua and Caleb). A Departure without an Arrival. There’s a tinge of sadness in those very words.
Transition always means letting go of one thing and reaching out for another. It may be a split second for the trapeze artiste, or years for those looking for a city with solid foundations, whose architect and builder is God. No, it’s not a case of neither here nor there. Something has to be given up, so that something better can take its place. Every bridal couple believes that; otherwise, they would cleave to their parents and enjoy the comforts of a familiar home. Challenges always come with Promises.
Three case studies come to mind:
Once he could dream of walking. Now he was lying on a sort of stretcher. Four friends had the audacity to remove the roof of a dwelling house and let him down: to reach the Healer. And now, he was in transition, for the Healer had pronounced: “Your sins are forgiven.” What lay ahead?
Once she was running around like only active children could. Now she was deathly still. Her father had sent out emissaries. To request, no, implore the itinerant Rabbi, to come and perhaps catch her just before she crossed to the other side. But it was all too late. The Rabbi had stopped to attend to a lady with a 12-year haemorrhage. Was it all over?
Once they saw how powerful He was. Single-handedly, He overthrew the tables of the merchants and money-changers in the Temple’s outer precincts. But now, crucified and dead, lying in a tomb, guarded by soldiers. How bitter was hope in their mouth and soul. Could there be a new dawn?
Complete the transition. Cross over to the other side. Go the whole way. When the cloud moves, pull up your tent pegs and stick close to that advancing pillar. God’s purpose for you is personal and for your entire good. Hesitate no longer.
There is a land flowing with milk and honey. And the Shepherd validates Psalm 32:8 – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Trust God to walk with you all the way!
Reprinted with permission from Impact magazine, Feb/Mar 2014, Vol. 38, No. 1
Photo taken at the Flying Gaona Brothers Trapeze School, California, by s_bukley/Bigstock.com
Dr Andrew Goh is the honorary Editor of Impact Magazine, Singapore’s only trans-denominational magazine. He is one of the founding elders of RiverLife Church and chairs its Elders’ Board.