Thursday, March 20, 2014


Change Is Hard                         


Exodus 17: 1-7           

Change is hard--even when we have chosen change, even when we are fleeing slavery (external or internal slavery), even when God has performed a miracle to launch us on our way. You see, change is more than a big dramatic event.   Israel was free, but Israel had not yet gone through the social, psychological, and spiritual transformation necessary to become the people of God, to be worthy of entering the promised land. This transformation process would require 40 years. Change is hard. Transformation takes a while. To paraphrase a truism, you can take Israel out of slavery, but you cannot take slavery out of Israel. That takes a little longer.


In the opening verses of Exodus 17, the people of Israel are complaining about how hard this transformative journey is becoming. They complain. They question, "Is the Lord among us or not?" They are revolting against Moses' leadership. Sometimes the transformation process includes periods of anger, doubt, and grief as we let go of what is past. Sometimes the transformation process includes periods of anxiety, hope, and experimentation, as we prepare for the future God leads us toward. Change is hard. There is no question about it!


Two things sustain us in this transformative process. First, God is present on the journey with us. God leads, God walks along side, God even brings up the rear, cleaning up our messes. Second, there will be surprises along the way, times and places when refreshing, life-giving water comes from unexpected places, even out of rocks. We will be amazed. Each of us will have our own Massahs and Meribahs, places where our complaining is turned into blessing. So pay attention. Complain if you like, but also look for surprises along the way. May this Lenten Season be for us a season of transformation. In being such, it will become a Way of Blessing.


Rev. Dr. Scott Sullender   

SFTS Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling