Several families had a meeting and decided they wanted to travel the world. Knowing their Governor would not permit them to leave, they plead with the President, who agreed to allow them to go. However, he sent his favored travel guide with them to ensure the families arrived safely at their destination.
The families packed their bags and followed the representative to the outskirts of their country. Soon they encountered an eight-lane highway traveling East and West. The traffic moved quickly, and without any lights to stop the flow, the group had no way to maneuver to the other side.
The travel agent phoned the president for help. Wanting the clan to stay on course, the leader asked his delegate to stop traffic by walking in the middle of the freeway.
With a quick gulp, the agent tiptoed into the first lane with his hands in the air. Some cars swerved, most stopped, and others changed lanes while shaking their heads. Nonetheless, the representative succeeded and stopped all the traffic going in both directions.
The clan felt important as they walked across the clear road to the other side.
That evening the families built a large bond fire and celebrated the goodness of the president with singing and dancing.
Days went by, and the people grew weary. They started to grumble that the water in the region tasted funny to them. Wanting to provide excellent customer service, the agent entreated the president to give them bottled water sweetened by tree bark, which he agreed.
A few weeks later, the guide noticed people breathing into paper bags. A young boy tapped him and said, “We’re tired dried tortillas. We want warm fluffy bread.”
“What’s wrong with them?” the guide pointed to the bag blowers.
“They’re worried they will never see fresh bread again,” the boy said.
The agent rolled his eyes but agreed to call his boss. The news did not sit well with the president, who already did so much for them. However, out of his compassion, he decided to provide them with the finest flour in all the land.
However, when the flour arrived, one guy showed his dislike for it by smacking the guide in the back of the head. Even so, the families agreed to try it. Although it had a unique taste, they were satisfied.
When evening came, the leader noted that only a few people danced around the fire and then sang meaningless choruses repeatedly.
A month later, the tour director held a meeting with the clan to see how they were enjoying their trip. Some people applauded, but most whined. Then, a small woman stood and said, “Excuse me, sir, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask for fresh meat. We want pots full of sticky BBQ like we had back at home!” The families cheered her suggestion.
Unsure how the Chief would respond to yet another request, the representative walked to the nearby mountain to phone him.
“What do they want now?” asked the President.
“They want BBQ.”
The chief shook his head in disappointment. Even so, he loved them and refused to go back on his word. Therefore, he provided the plumpest birds he could find for the families.
The people waited as the guide unloaded hundreds of boxes of fresh birds from the moving trucks. The clan cheered and fired up their portable hibachis.
With full stomachs, the group went back to their tents for the night without a celebration of thanksgiving. As they passed the travel guide, they whispered about the snakes in the nearby rocks.
“I wonder if the president will protect us,” said an old clansman.
“Who knows,” whined another, “what has he done for us lately?”
We, as Christians, have short-term memories. God continues to meet our needs and deliver us from tragedies, but we forget past blessings and see only the present trial. We doubt God’s character as if he has changed and now is no longer in control of our circumstances.
Hebrews 13:5b-6, says, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” Verse 8 of the same chapter adds, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NASB)
In his sermon, “Give Us this Day: Or Who Knows What We Need, When We Don’t Know What We Need?” (linked here), Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says, “Hunger reminds us we are dust. God feeds us and lets us go hungry so that we will know his provision. He also allows us to be hungry to remind us of our need of Him. However, our hunger is deeper than mere bread. Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life, feed on me.’ Thus, when we pray we defend our knowledge of God; likewise, how we pray reveals a lot about ourselves.” (paraphrased)
It appears that the same testing Israel underwent during their 40 years of wandering, applies to us today. God can give us all we need, save us from every trial, and prevent us from every disease, but he doesn’t. He wants us to remember his faithfulness, and to establish a relationship with him.
Thus, we can measure the strength of our Christian walk by how quickly we rely on our belief in a Sovereign God. The wringing of hands and constant stress we undergo is a sign that we have not matured in our faith.
Therefore, we must rehearse God’s past blessings and answered prayers regularly. If not, we will forget his mercy and waste our time and energy in ingratitude.