Book of Numbers #10
To be angry with God is one thing. To rebel is another. The first calls God's compassion, the other his wrath. We all face hardships, some internal, some external. Some of us carry the burden of a long-term illness, others have lost their job, a loved one, or were forced to leave their home, their country. Still, others are caught by a habitual sin of one form or another, and some of us watch, with great anxiety, loved ones leave the faith and leave the Church.
All of these hardships, all these challenges are hard to bear, but a moment of reflection may help us see that, provided we are sincerely seeking the Lord, obeying his law and the laws of the Church, and calling upon him in days of trouble, then these hardships are not for our destruction but our growth in holiness, and in the final analysis, that is all that matters. Yet, we, like the children of Israel, are wandering in one wilderness or another.
At least it may feel like we are, and we are confronted with a choice when these hardships come knocking at our door: to go to God in complete confidence in his strength and will or rely on our own and fail. To obey his mysterious decree or to rebel. Life is found in obedience and death in rebellion. Yet, God, in His infinite mercy does not abandon us when we fail, when we fall, when we stray; he sends a serpent of bronze, lifted up so we can see him and by merely looking at him, the Israelites were preserved from the poison of the serpents. God is merciful, when we stray, to teach us obedience, not to give us what we want. The choice is ours.