(Aaron to Moses) “They said to me, ‘Make us gods, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” – Exodus 32: 23-35
The Israelites were feeling some pain. They were anxious. Moses was gone, off on the top of some mountain with God. So the people came to Aaron and said, “Do something.” Take away our anxiety. Take away our pain. Make us a golden god.
Are there times in life when it’s best to tolerate a little pain, to live with a little discomfort?
Sometimes in congregations we become so committed to the rhetoric of care and compassion that we seem to think that if anyone is feeling uncomfortable it must be fixed or alleviated right this minute. Perhaps not? Maybe sometimes life is just uncomfortable? Maybe at times what we’re dealing with, or need to deal with, is difficult and painful? Being too quick to fix or take away the pain may mean that the real issues are avoided and real healing is not ever experienced.
Good leaders don’t always take away people’s pain or discomfort. They do help people to bear the pain of life’s challenges and to grow. They help people not to panic when things get scary. Faithful leaders encourage people to persevere when it’s hard going and then to make progress.
God of Exodus, you didn’t make the journey so that we don’t have to. You promise to make the journey with us. Grant us your presence so that we might make the journey forward with courage. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.