“From Mount Hor the Israelites set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Numbers 21:4-5

The Hebrew people were grumbling and growing impatient with both God and their leader, Moses because their journey was harder and longer than they expected. In the midst of adversity, they lost their capacity to love.

Whenever a group of people is experiencing struggle, they are vulnerable to becoming impatient and turning against their leader and/or against one another. We see this happening all the time, and seems true for organizations, work teams, sports teams, congregations, families, and even nations.

Of course, it is also true that adversity can bring people closer together and motivate them to achieve more than they thought possible. We can choose to either pull together or pull apart. Love is a decision.

Take a moment and reflect on a time when you have been, or perhaps currently are now, part of a group facing adversity. Were you able to pull together or did you pull apart? If you were able to pull together, what made that possible?

The wonderful thing is that God listened to the Hebrew people and while the journey still took a full generation to complete, he provided water and manna for the journey. God is listening to you too, even if you are grumbling and complaining.

Linda Ashfield, minister at Knox Waterloo