After a few centuries of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were free.
They were in the wilderness, but they were free.
They were hungry and thirsty, but they were free.
They weren’t sure what the future held, but they were free.
They had many obstacles to overcome, but they were free.
They had a lot to work out and a lot to work on, but they were free.
It was worth it all, because they were free.
It was worth it all, that is, until it wasn’t.
So one day they said to Moses, “We want to go back to Egypt.” They said it because they had decided, after a very brief experiment in freedom, that slavery was easier.
They had decided that going backward was easier than going forward.
They had decided that the security of despotism was easier than the risk of liberty.
But they didn’t get to go back. That wasn’t possible. And they didn’t get to go forward, either.
They had to stay stuck where they were, until their fearful hearts gave out and their regressive minds shut down.
The only ones who got to go forward were those who believed in the possibilities of the future so much that they didn't allow the obstacles of the present to cause them to remember the past with a fondness it didn't deserve.
Oh, and the children—the children of those who wanted to go back got to go forward, too. They got to experience the good future that their parents wanted to run away from. Their parents could have led them in, but they had too little hope, too little trust, and too little imagination.