Reading the introduction to Numbers in my Lutheran Study Bible, this phrase smacked me right-dab-in-the-middle of my forehead... "wandering and whining in the wilderness." The author is referring to the Israelites waaaaay back in the day. But it might as well be describing me for the past few months.
Where, oh where, has my dedication and devotion gone? I could muse about this for days. Thankfully, I hear God calling me to him instead. "Forget then. Let's focus on now. Gather your scattered focus and sit awhile at my feet. Hear my words. Feel my love. Start new. Now. Today."
With a deep, restful, peace-filled sigh, I do.
And this is what I find: Right from the get go in Numbers, God creates order in the wilderness. In calling Moses and Aaron to conduct a census of Israel, he numbers the men of each tribe and delegates their roles. The Levite men are to serve as priests; the men of the other tribes are to defend the nation. He counts each head and provides purpose. He even sets forth a specific plan for a camp. Goodbye chaos.
Here is my hope: spiritual order amidst chaos, faithful pattern rising from randomness, higher purpose in the wilderness.
Lord God, you know my personal wilderness. My summer days are strewn with activities and adventure, pulling my family here and there and everywhere but your presence. My wanderings wind through job opportunities and finding the proper fit, through my kids' needs and wants and ambitions, through weekends away and weekdays swaying in laundry, packing, cleaning, and carpooling. My whining is about the kids' whining about their siblings' whining which makes me want to drown in a large, lush glass of... yes... wine.
God, you are with me in my wilderness, and we laugh together about how small these worries and wanderings and whinings are in the whole scheme of things. You promise order. Purpose. Counting of what counts. Calling to a higher cause. Help me to quiet my body and my mind to hear your higher plan. Help me to turn my focus from the wildness of these earthly whirlpools, and focus on your wondrous will instead.
Thank you, God. You are so very, very good. Thank you for your patience with my wandering and my whining. Thank you for your never-wavering love which pulls me out of the wilderness. Thank you for counting me and claiming me and calling to me, until I pause and listen and truly hear what you have to say.