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You have to go THROUGH it

We’re going on a bear hunt.

We’re going on a bear hunt.

I’m not scared.

I’m not scared.

Uh oh. Mud. Thick, squelchy mud.

We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it.

We have to go through it!

Squish squelch squish squelch.

Sometimes in life, the only way through is, well, through. You have to leave the comfortable place, where you feel safe and known with Netflix on the TV and Magnums in the freezer; you have to step out and begin. Begin what? The journey. Out the door, down the street, onto the train, into the plane, onto foreign land, through thick, squelchy foreign mud. Squish squelch squish squelch. You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You have to go through it.


This Lent we have been following the people of Israel through the wilderness, on their way to the land of freedom. They have left the fried okra and slow-cooked lamb of Egypt for tiny birds that land around the camp and strange, sweet tasting bread that comes down from heaven, and they are sick of it. Why are they still walking? Why aren’t they there already? Where is this Promised Land that they have been promised?


This week, God sends poisonous snakes into the people’s camp, and many of them get bitten and die. Thanks, God. When they finally ask for help, God doesn’t simply remove the snakes, or even stop them from biting people. You would think that would be a reasonable thing for God to do. But no – instead, God tells Moses to make a snake out of bronze, put it on a stick, and get people who had been bitten to look at it. Then, they would be healed.


They are to look at the very thing that has caused them illness and death, and through that looking, they would find healing.


We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it.

We have to go through it.


Often when the hard thing happens, we want to avoid it. We want to look away. But in this story, God seems to be saying: Walk into the uncomfortable place, the place that will give you pain. There’s no short-cut, there’s no way around it. You have to go through it. Now look! Look directly at the thing that is hurting you! Take it in. Don’t look away. What is it telling you? What do you need to learn?

I wonder…what Life might be on the other side of the wilderness? And what Life might be had by looking directly at what seems to be causing death?  

Words by Rev Andreana Reale

Image by Marg Edwards

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