As one reads through the narratives relating to the Exodus and the Desert Wanderings, one thing that really sticks out is the Israelites’ penchant for grumbling.  And God’s extreme displeasure at it.  “Why did you lead us out of the desert to die in this wilderness?”  And so their punishment is to die in this wilderness, when they were to inherit the Land.

What is interesting is how the books of 1 Corinthians and Hebrews draw out the parallels between the Exodus and wanderings and our life.  In the life of each Christian, these Old Testament stories are recapitulated.  In baptism, we are delivered from the slavery of sin, being, of course, analogous to the delivery from Egypt through the Red Sea.  But upon baptism, we do not yet enter the Promised Land, but rather are let loose into a vast desert of testing and temptation, with the Promised Land still ahead.  The majority of our lives are spent in the midst of this testing, and there is always the temptation to fall back to grumbling.  Lord, why did you regenerate me, why did you die for me, if your plan is to allow me to languish in the midst of this life?  Lord, I am perishing, do you not care?  Do you not see?

The Old Testament stories that I am now reading are helpful.  The Israelites’ behavior is so off-putting that it helps me to see how my behavior might look from the outside.  Probably why St. Paul tells us to rejoice in all things.  He knows how easy it is to fall back into grumbling.  When the graces and joys of initial conversion transform into the monotonous methodical plugging away of daily life, into the daily carrying of the cross…why did I embark on this journey again?  It’s so easy.


~ by Rob on March 19, 2008.

2 Responses to “Grumblings”

  1. Rob,

    It’s too long to into in this comment, but I really needed to read this today. Thanks for the insight.

  2. Gosh, Paul, I hope everything’s OK. Feel free to email if you need anything.

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