A Prison of Seasons
Few things get people as excited as the change in seasons. If you have any contact with social media at all, you will see a wave of hashtags, pumpkins, and flannel hit the screen at an alarming rate.
What is it that we love about this fall season? Is it the sweaters and boots? The opportunity to watch the trees drop their fiery leaves to the ground? Maybe it’s the trips to the pumpkin patch or the new pumpkin flavor options everywhere you turn.
Whatever it is, it’s a time that brings a special feeling to the hearts and taste buds of many. It’s a time where most will drop what they’re doing and step outside for a moment in the fresh crisp air.
We go through seasons in life too. There are moments of warmth and life, moments where things are beautiful and satisfying, moments where you can’t seem to get enough of where you are and the surroundings you call your own. Sometimes we have those same attachments to the seasons that were less “healthy”—those emotional connections and blood bonds that caused you to constantly struggle to move on and move up.
When I read the Old Testament, I find myself all too often reflecting the habits and failures of the Israelites. You probably haven’t made any golden calves recently or attempted to stone any leaders. But if you look at the big picture, you’ll find a consistent and basic human struggle with which the nation wrestled throughout their documented journey.
In Exodus 16, we find the Israelites struggling to move on. They had experienced this miraculous deliverance, something they no doubt had been waiting for. Yet when the time came for their change, they resented it all. Why? Was Egypt so good they just couldn’t stand to leave it behind? Or was it something deeper?
Upon leaving Egypt, the nation left their “security” at the borders. We must acknowledge that a sense of security is much more than simple “safety.” Rather it’s often an emotional attachment to the state of mind in which you rested. They left a place where they were controlled, abused, used, and unable to grow. They left it for a wide open desert of possibilities and promises, a godly man to follow, and a future for their families.
Yet we read and find them missing their dark place. Their safe prison. The land where they knew what was to come and the challenges upon them.
We as humans seek an element of comfort and security. That is often our biggest weakness as we long for safety in the danger we know. As the seasons change, as the deliverance we prayed for arrives, we often run back to the struggles we know so well.
The value in the desert cannot be understood until you embrace the new season and vulnerability the deliverance brings. Just as the leaves turn red and fall from the trees each October, so your life will go through seasons. Some may feel more like Egypt, others will resemble the season after the water parts and your battle is won.
Wherever you find yourself, it’s important to value the season for what it is and be willing to move forward. Had Israel not had a leader like Moses, the Israelites very well might have turned around and headed back to the safe captivity they knew so well.
This fall I hope you remember the value in discomfort. Throw on that sweater, grab your pumpkin spice, and let God move you a little bit more than before.
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Jason Huckaby is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.