As I thought about today’s topic, it seemed natural to speak of nature. It is Spring, after all, and grass should be greening, flowers should come to life. Hah! I live in the Boston area, and no bud has yet dared to work its way through the frozen, snow-covered ground.
So I’m shifting my thoughts to other arenas of growth. Personal growth, development of a people, what it means to grow into a nation. The heck with Spring’s delay!
The story of Exodus is replete with growth, and its natural corollary, setback. Moses certainly experienced tremendous growth – he went from a sort of nebeshy guy who thought God shouldn’t have chosen him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to a powerful and courageous leader. He argued with God about sparing the lives of the Israelites after God became enraged with them when they wanted to return to Egypt and resume their lives as slaves, and prevailed upon God not to annihilate them. Moses was a changed man from the one to whom God had first spoken at the site of the burning bush.
Indeed, the Israelites themselves grew – kicking and screaming along the way. In fits and starts, with a lot of backsliding. A golden calf here, a paralysis of fear there. Nevertheless, they made it to the promised land, as a people. A grown up people. A new generation, ready for the challenges of a new land, as a free people, with all the responsibilities that freedom demands. Forty years of wandering, and 40 years of growth. Of failures and successes. Weakness and strength. Led by a man who grew into his leadership step by step, commandment by commandment, exhortation by exhortation.
For me, Exodus is about growth. About knowing that growth is not linear, and that failure is a crucial element. About learning how to keep on despite travails, setbacks, and doubts. About knowing that you may not see the fruits of your labor, but that your children will. About faith – in God and self.
Now, it’s time to ponder whether the grass in my yard will ever grow, and the flowers push up toward the sky. Faith, right? I must have faith.
I’m participating this year in #blogExodus, a daily series of posts, tweets, and status updates relating to themes of Passover and Exodus, created by ImaBima. The series lasts for 14 days – not nearly as long as the Jews wandered in the desert all those years ago. You can find other posts via the #blogExodus hashtag.