Are you sorry you bought the one-way ticket when you thought you were so sure?
You wanted to live in the land of promise, now it's getting so hard
Are you sorry you're out here in the desert instead of your own back yard?
-- Keith Green, "So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?"
This week, I unexpectedly ran out of shaving cream. I've been using the Mary Kay men's shaving cream for about two years since a friend sold me on it. It's a little more expensive than the regular stuff, but since the first can lasted me a year, I wasn't that worried. And, since it seemed to last a long time, I had no problem using a little more than I used to. Then, one day, it ran out. Sunday, in fact.
Well, I wasn't totally out in the woods. I had a can of the old Gilette white stuff that I've had since Basic (2004) and haven't really used, but have carried it around for the past seven years everywhere I've lived. That means every time I've packed up to move, I've had to ask myself why I keep it; the answer? It's still good shaving cream that I might need one day.
It's not what I'm used to, but going back to the old stuff, I've survived. Because that's what men do. When our Mary Kay shaving cream runs out. Where was I? Oh yeah, losing a corner from my man card. I have always kept that can, subconsciously, I suppose, as a chance to go back to what I used before, because even before I got on MK, I was using a certain shave gel that got discontinued and now I can't find it anywhere.
Part of the problem with going forward can be forgetting where we came from and what it was like then. We start longing for "the good old days." I sometimes wish I was back at LSU as an undergrad with the Bible study we called The Wreckin' Crew, working at the Cafe...but that was before the Will of God totally interrupted my own plans for my life. That was before He began to release me from bondages I never thought I'd get past. Or else I want to go back into the active duty Air Force life, completely forgetting how hard it was to find other believers to share fellowship with or a church home to settle down in. I forget that Basic was my opportunity to realize why I'd rather finish college than have to work a grunt job for the rest of my life.
Running out of shaving cream is not my biggest "back to Egypt" moment lately. In the process of looking for a new place to live, I have certain deal breakers (not much different from my relationship deal breakers), including but not limited to:
- A yard for Sophie the Wonder Basset
- NOT a trailer
But I still considered it. Just like the Israelites, having so recently been set free from the bondage of their Egyptian masters:
10And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
11And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
-- Exodus 14:10-12.
But what does Moses say immediately thereafter?
13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
I considered going back because the road looked hard ahead of me. It looked hard. That didn't mean it would be hard, it just meant I had to trust God to bring me somewhere better than I had ever been before. Furthermore, everything back there looked easy, having forgotten what life was like back in those days.
There's nothing in Egypt I need. I only need to trust God to be my all-sufficient provision, and He'll do what He does best. Surely enough, I was able to find a roommate who comes highly recommended from mutual friends, who loves the Lord, and is going to help me keep the place clean in the eyes of the Lord.
What about you? Have you done any Egypt-longing lately?