The Misery of Uncertainty

April 5, 2022

The people became impatient on the way. They spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” —Numbers 21:4-5
“We feel better with the certainty of misery than the misery of uncertainty,” says psychologist Virginia Satir. That could explain why some people don’t leave abusive relationships or demeaning jobs. It might explain why some people sabotage good relationships, living situations, or work opportunities. It seems to explain why the Israelites complained that they would rather go back to slavery in Egypt than endure the uncertainties of their journey to the Promised Land. The hardship of Egypt was preferable to the
anxiety of the unknown. From our vantage point of history, we know that things will get better for Moses’ band of escapees, but having lived through the oppression, torture, and trauma of slavery, they simply couldn’t envision anything different. We see this pattern still playing out thousands of years later, even though rational people should not willingly choose misery over a better life.
FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever chosen something familiar over the unfamiliar, even though you knew it was not good for you?
TO PRAY: God, help me to grow in trust that you want to lead me to the Promised Land, even if it takes time and discomfort to get there.