man in black shirt and gray denim pants sitting on gray padded bench


17 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.Therefore, the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Exodus 17:1-7 ESV

This wasn’t the first time the Israelites were fearful for water or food. It’s a reoccurring problem for them, a reoccurring fear. It is understandable. They were wandering the desert – if they ran out of food or water, they weren’t going to last long. It wasn’t a petty fear by any means. 

I can’t imagine being an Israelite mother – wandering, trusting Moses knows what is going on – trusting God to provide. How fearful would I become if there was no water and my children asked me for water while my throat grew dry and rough? Terrified is what I’d probably feel. 

Crying out to Moses seems logical. Feeling angry and fearful towards God also feels logical. 

It reminds me of a time in my life when I first acted out of love and trust – as did the Israelites in leaving Egypt – only to have fear take over. 

At the end of 2020, my then-13-year-old son’s mental health did a nosedive. His depression and anxiety got the better of him, and he was hospitalized for half a week. Getting him stable again would be a long journey ahead of us. While he was in the hospital, I took the days off work. I was gripped with fear for him and our family. My partner and I decided I should take some indefinite time away from work. The pandemic was hard. Schooling 6 children at home was hard. Mental health was hard. It was a heavy burden to carry. We crunched numbers and made a plan. I quit my job. I did it, we did it, out of love and trust. I wanted to focus on our son, the other kids, our mental health, and my creative pursuits. 

It didn’t take long for fear to set in, though. Each month I’d feel fear well up in me as I paid bills and crunched numbers. And month after month, God was faithful in our finances. They were stretched and covered our needs time and again. I would do my best to turn back to love, to trust in the process, and to know I was following God’s plan for our family at that time. 

It was difficult. It grew our family and me a lot. To continue to trust and lean into God for those eight months. 

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. Perhaps one as dramatic: finances, health, hurt from the church. Perhaps you can relate on a different level. One of annoyances that accumulate and feed our fear. Lost luggage, misleading directions, rejection from friends or family. Times that pushed you towards fear, and you kept trying to pivot towards love and trust. 

God will continue to be faithful to us. Even in our fear, God will choose love and provide for us. May we draw near to God’s faithfulness and rest in God’s love for us.