Recently our high school Booster club had the Harlem Wizards at the school for a fundraiser event. A selection of teachers from the district played a game versus the Wizards. It was a great mixture of comedy and trick shot basketball, including a bunch of amazing acrobatic slam dunks. At the end of the game, they called all the kids out onto the floor, grade by grade starting with the youngest first and this happened:
It was so much fun. As we drove home, my daughter Meagan said to me “I wish every day could be like that.” It was two hours of life in the Promised Land, when everything was laughter and fun and games.
I know what Meagan means. I remember thinking at my sister’s wedding day and reception, “I don’t want this to end.” There have been many such experiences in my life. Our close friend Becka lived with us for 6-7 months, and during that time she and Derek got engaged. I’ll never forget when they arrived back our house to drop Becka off. We knew that Derek was taking her to Philly to propose, but we didn’t know what time they would be back, so we went to bed. We texted Derek saying “feel free to wake us”, and when we heard that knock on our bedroom door? We were up in a flash, excited as could be. Then soon after that we had an engagement party for them and then months later their wedding day…oh my…why can’t life be like that every day? The unstoppable joy, and the dancing.
The reality is that life also has wilderness. The bleak times. When our bodies break down and don’t work like they are supposed to. When our cars and computers and cell phones break down and don’t work like they are supposed to. First world problems? Sure. But there are also relationship breakdowns, job loss, financial crises. You name it. Sometimes the wilderness is inside our hearts and minds. We feel dry, distant from God, depressed, anxious, stressed out. Cold.
School can be like that.
Work can be like that.
If we had to count them up and classify each day of our lives as Wilderness days or Promised Land days, I suspect many of us would be lopsided on the Wilderness category. I told Meg, that’s what makes the great days, the special days, so good, because they are in contrast to the normal, right? You party every day and the partying loses its appeal.
You know that song “Working for the Weekend”? It conveys the idea that we just need to get through the week so we can enjoy the weekend. We just need to get through the wilderness so we can get to the Promised Land. That seems pretty normal, right? Deal with the junk of like so that one day you can enjoy life. But is that the way it is supposed to be?
As we continue into Deuteronomy chapter 8, Moses sets before the people of Israel these two visions. Wilderness and Promised Land. They have just wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and now they are beginning to taste the Promised Land. Finally!
Surprisingly, Moses is very, very concerned.
In our next post, we find out why.