"The people quarreled with Moses and said, 'Would that we had died when our kindred died . . . Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place?'" - Numbers 20:3, 5a
In every theatrical production I've done, there is always a moment when it appears it will all come crashing down. Some main character doesn't know her lines. The chorus keeps going flat. Everyone suddenly realizes I can't dance. We are certain there will be no show.
If the director is kind, she sits the cast down for a chat. More often, she screams and throws things. We wonder what we were thinking when we started. Why did we ever believe this was possible?
And then, our collective freak-out ends, and the show goes on.
It's hard to hold fast to a vision, to turn dreams into reality or build something that wasn't there before. It's scary to look down from the tightrope and recognize we have only gotten this far by grace. There are a thousand things that could have destroyed us already and a thousand more waiting in the wings.
The new Israelite nation has a few collective freak outs. It's understandable; water is important. But it's deeper than water. It's the idea that an unseen God cares about them, has called them to a new life, is guiding them toward freedom and a future. At some point they have to ask, "Why did we ever believe this was possible?"
Wouldn't you? Don't you?
But God answers with water from a rock. The vision is restored. The freak out ends, and we move onward, answering the Spirit's call, playing our parts.
Holy Spirit, hold me through the freak-outs, and then, lead on.
Vince Amlin is Associate Minister at the United Church of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.