I struggle too much with looking at something and thinking there is a way to make it better, to improve upon something. On the one hand, it’s helpful for me to have this mindset because I can often take something and create a better way, a more streamline solution, a different option that could end up being a great improvement. At the same time, I can be overly critical, a nag, and spend more time complaining instead of being thankful for assistance. I have a serious issue with perfectionism and my desire to make sure everything is in its place sometimes defeats the opportunities others have to try and learn and grow. I am the person who will just do it because I can do it better. I am the person who will watch you struggle and take it from you to get it done. I am the person who will clench my teeth as you use the “wrong” spoon or use the “incorrect” shortcut. That’s me. I am a mess. I’m working on it.
In today’s passage, we read about the “wouldn’t it be better” that takes the cake. Of course, my desire for things to be my way is a problem. But what we read about in today’s passage is extreme. The Israelites were freed from Egypt. The Israelites, who were worked harshly and not living out their destiny in life as God’s people, considered it better to go back to the slavery, to go back to the brutality. Why? Because the people did not trust God. The people did not see the big picture. The people could not accept what God was bringing together for them, what He had already prepared for them, what was coming up ahead. They only saw that they were being brought to a land to “die by the sword.” A skewed focus. Wouldn’t it be better.
Today, consider all of the times you think wouldn’t it be better. How many times do you think it? Wouldn’t it be better if my husband took out the trash? Wouldn’t it be better if my kids listened on the first try? Wouldn’t it be better if I had a different job? Wouldn’t it be better if I moved? Wouldn’t it be better. We say it a lot. How many times do we miss the blessing because we say this? How many times do we overlook what God is doing because we say this? How many times do we sacrifice what could be and settle for heading back to what was?
I am still an overcritical, someone complaining, perfectionist. I miss out on opportunities to share grace. I miss out on just enjoying the moment. But one of the greatest moments of missing out is if you miss out on what God has for you in life… if you cling to Egypt when He is leading you to the Promised Land. Wouldn’t it be better?!?
“All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?’” – Numbers 14:2-3 [CSB]