Reflecting on Exodus 17: 3-7
Is the Lord in our midst or not? Now there’s a question. Once they passed safely into the desert―with its challenges of hunger and thirst―the Hebrew slaves began questioning whether the Divine Power that parted the sea for them was really just all in their minds. Perhaps it was collective hysteria. But―ahem―how WAS it that they were now safely on the other side?
Isn’t that exactly how the life of faith goes? We position ourselves to receive every gift God pours out on us. We can name the thousands of ways God is gracious to us. But drought and fire, illness and heart-breaking death, war and starving refugees remain. Is the nearness of God just wishful thinking?
The reason the Church gives us that refrain from Psalm 95 so often―if today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts―is because every single day we can make a decision for or against the nearness of God.
We were sustained through the night and woke up feeling wonderful. Yes, God is near. The morning news is filled with images of terror and injustice all over the world. No, God is clearly not in our midst at all.
In our particular moment in history there are more and more baptized Christians transitioning to a place of a hardened heart. The world is too full of sadness for them to find a way to accept that there is a loving God “with us.”
The daily decision to not harden our hearts is exactly what is required of a believer. We don’t believe because the kingdom is fulfilled. We choose to wait in joyful hope―and work for justice every day― until it is.
In what ways will you soften your heart today?
Kathy McGovern ©2017