I once read an historian's description of Moses as the luckiest revolutionary leader in history: he had 40 years and a handy desert to turn a motley group of clueless slaves into a nation of people who had grown up self-sufficient. Not only that, but the handy desert just happened to be one he knew how to live in. Without his 40 years with Jethro, Moses would not have been able to cope with the scope of what God was doing. Nothing less drastic than Moses' temper tantrum would have gotten him out of the comfortable life he had been living. God gave Moses those years with a great mentor and friend, in a place he never would have dreamed of living on his own. And Moses did it--under the orders and strength of God. The people learned, and raised a generation that had seen the power of God (even though sometimes we wonder how much they understood). They were still the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but with a different attitude.
This is typical of revolutions. Change happens in stages; the first one is the questioning of the situation at hand. When i was involved in debate in high school and college, the first part of a formal debate was : "Is there a need for change?" The second part is a discussion of what changes are needed, appropriate and practical. The first part is often obvious--the Israelites were in a bad situation. Similarly, in our own revolution, being ruled by a distant goverment that saw their own advantage led to a determination to take charge of our own affairs. We don't usually think of the fact that the Revolutionary War ended in 1781, and the Constitution was adopted in 1789. The Articles of Confederation were a stopgap answer to an immediate need, but it wasn't long before the problems became apparent. The original purpose of the Constitutional Convention was a revision of those Articles; it soon became obvious that they needed to start over, knowing some of the pitfalls, and to draft something new. France took a little longer: their Revolution began in 1789, the first attempt at defining a new order was the First Republic of 1792, and they are now living under their Fifth Republic, established in 1958. The original Russian Revolution was in May of 1917, and was overturned by the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1789, which led to the USSR. This was dissolved in 1991, and we are still watching its death throes today; some of the pieces are doing very well and some are not. You could trace similar patterns in many parts of the world; there is a constant tension in human societies between anarchy and repression; isolation and expansionism.
In February of 2003, we noted that we were celebrating the end of 40 months of worshiping and working without our Sanctuary. . I remember our 75th Anniversary commemoration in 2000, out in the courtyard. Our speaker was Rev. Mark Lambert from Transformation Ministries, our regional association. He mentioned that churches, like societies and people, go through generational changes, and that the average church goes through a transformation at about 80 years. In 2005, our 80 year point included a name change and the unveiling of a new sign out front, as well as the first steps into cell ministry. By 2010, the stresses of dealing with the aftermath of the rebuild and the financial difficulties of the school, and the stresses of a new DNA of ministry, led us to regroup in another place. Now with 90 years coming up this fall, we are coming "back"--circumstances and a lot of prayer are leading us back to Sierra Way--but not to the "same place." Most of our leadership, like Moses, are familiar with where we are going; some of our church family are looking at something new. No matter how familiar it may seem to some of us, we know "you can't go home again." God isn't an escape from hard things; but He is the source of strength, vision and wisdom to cope with them.
By 2010, the stresses of dealing with the aftermath of the rebuild, and the financial difficulties of the school, led us to regroup in another place. Now circumstances and a lot of prayer are leading us back to Sierra Way--but not to the "same place." Most of our leadership, like Moses, are familiar with where we are going; some of our church family are looking at something new. No matter how familiar it may seem to some of us, we know "you can't go home again." God isn't an escape from hard things; but He is the source of strength and wisdom to cope with them.