"In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?" Ex 17: 3.
Do you ever wonder how the friends of Moses felt? Were they angry, confused, hurt? After all, it was Moses who led them out of Egypt, a place where, though they were slaves, they lived reasonably well. Somehow it all seems unfair. In the twentieth chapter of the book of Numbers, Moses is upset with God. He and his people, having wandered in the desert for forty years, are thirsty again. God hears Moses' cry and tells him to speak to the rock when he and the people are thirsty, but Moses challenges God and strikes the rock twice.
Is Moses being punished for striking the rock rather than speaking to it as God told him? Or is his fault deeper than this? Prophets like Moses are charged to speak and do exactly what God commands. No more and no less. Moses fails God and his people by acting out of his anger and dismay. Though Moses' punishment seems harsh, the text can be the occasion for a good question or two. Do we lash out at one another or speak behind others backs when we are hurt or confused? Or do we pray for the grace to seek God's path for us and a just solution through open and honest conversation?
Today, ask for the grace to let go of any hurt or resentment we might be carrying against a friend, a family member or even an enemy.
How do you respond to others when you are angry?