Over this Labor Day Weekend I've had the privilege of spending some time in Hocking Hills with not all, but most of the people that I do life with. My family, along with six other families rented a house and spent the weekend eating, laughing, hiking, telling stories, playing games. Yesterday we spent some time hiking around the woods, up and down the trails of the area, some marked, some not marked, some easy, some more difficult....some slippery (I may or may not have taken a slight tumble down some deceptively slick rocks). In the end, fun was had by all and ibuprofen was had by some.
In the midst of our longest hike of the day I somehow found myself at the front of the line of our 30 hikers. I didn't really know the trail but I knew that if I just kept walking that eventually we would circle back to something familiar. As we walked I began to notice the almost imperceptible murmur of complaining.
Are we almost done?
It's so hot.
How much longer until we get back?
By the end of the trail the complaining had gone full scale. Most everyone was worn out and a few had turned the corner to grumpy. As we stood near the trail head we spent a few minutes laughing about our inability to hike a few miles without complaining. Someone joked that I resembled Moses with my beard and walking stick as he lead the people of Israel through the wilderness. You can read more about Moses on BibleGateway. We laughed and the conversation moved on. As we walked back to the car I wondered how difficult it must have been for Moses to lead all of those people through such a desolate stretch of wilderness for such a long period of time. The whined, the complained, they griped, they rebelled, they wanted to turn back, they hated Moses. Almost immediately I began to run my "2-mile front of the line" experience through the filter of leadership. I began to wonder how Moses must have felt as he dealt with all of those complaints. What tremendous leadership Moses must have displayed as he navigated those difficult waters.
And then my mind shifted. What about me? Not what about my leadership, but what about me? I began to wonder how difficult it's been for God to lead me through some of the difficult patches of my life. I whine. I complain. I gripe. I constantly ask, "How much longer?" At times I feel like rebelling. At times I feel like breaking off and doing my own thing.
How patient God must be with me. He puts up with me and all of my ridiculousness. He continues to patiently guide me, show me the way and point me in the right direction. I ended yesterday with a feeling of thankfulness. Thankfulness for ibuprofen and God's patience. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.