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This is Too Hard

This is Too Hard

What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: “Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. Exodus 14:11-12

When I was a kid, I watched a certain boxing movie during which the hero of the story went through a grueling training routine, set to upbeat, inspiring music. During this time, he transformed himself into a lean fighting machine, able to defeat the bad guy in the movie’s climax. I was motivated. I too was going to eat better and train every day to transform myself into a great wrestler. Then, reality hit. Training was a lot of hard work, and I just wanted a donut. Realizing the mountain of sacrifice it was going to take to get where I thought I wanted to go, I realized I’d rather simply stay where I was.

Likewise, in my addiction, I desperately wanted recovery. I knew however, the mountain of misery it was going to take to get there. I knew I’d have to tell my wife, go to treatment, change my life, and maybe lose my career. That was too much, so I refused. Then, once my addiction was discovered and I had to go through all those things anyway, I realized that I’d been right. That was a mountain of effort, sacrifice, and misery. In that misery, it was tempting to look back, wishing I could return to my old life. On the other side now, I’m glad that going back wasn’t an option. I love my new life, but I’ve got to be honest with those who’re seeking recovery – Recovery requires radical and sometimes painful change.

Can’t we just go back to the way things were? This was what the Israelites said to Moses in today’s passage. In the story, God freed them from Egyptian slavery, guiding them into the wilderness. Once they left Egypt though, Pharaoh changed his mind, pursuing them with his army. With the Egyptian army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them, God’s people despaired. It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. Can’t we just go back to the way things were?

Most of us who’ve tried to change any unhealthy behavior have found ourselves here. We set out, inspired by our goal, but then reality hits, and we realize we don’t really want it that badly. So, we go back to the old life, discovering that we’re not happy there either. We tried to change for a reason. So, we have two choices – we can remain in the old life, or we can commit to the daily discipline and sacrifice of transformation. If we want the new life, we can follow God to find it, or we can just go back to the way things were. Daily, the choice is ours.

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