15 Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil.

We’ve all prayed for gladness, in one form or another, and probably hear our friends ask for it at every prayer meeting.  I am struck that Moses’ request included a qualification, that the  requested gladness be proportionate to the days and years in which the Lord had afflicted them.  What were these days and years that Moses asks the Lord to use as a type of standard by which to determine the proportion of His blessing on His people?  It is none other than the wilderness years of Israel’s discipline for its unbelief and faithlessness to her God.  Remember the 12 spies sent into the Land to assess its agriculture, the military strength of its cities and villages, and the nature of the people who lived in it?  Ten of the twelve returned with a discouraging report to the people, robbing them of their desire and courage to fight for the land, and so the Lord consigned them all to wander until they all died in the desert of fear they preferred to promised land, with its need for great conquest and struggle (Numbers 13:1-1-33, 14:34, Deut 2:14-15).

For their faithless, stubborn insistence on doing things their way instead of following the Lord’s command, they were sentenced to wander in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula for an additional thirty-eight years, bringing the total number of years of their nomadic, rootless existence to forty years—one year for each day that their own spies had spent in the land of Canaan.

When Moses asked God to bring gladness according to the days God had afflicted—he placed a specific qualification on the gladness.  He asked that it be commensurate, according to the years of painful, heart-wrenching, seemingly endless suffering and discipline endured by the sons and daughters of Abraham in their tent community of the desert wastelands.  To his last day, Moses never forgot the wilderness, even when he stood at its edge and viewed the land of promise.  To him, the gladness requested would not be fully appreciated if it were detached from pain remembered.

Father, give me grace today to face difficulties and challenges in faithful resolve, and not in a frantic desire to escape whatever challenges You bring to me. Bring me a gladness of heart today that arises out of the memory of You carrying me through the hard times I’ve faced in life.  I trust You in the good days, and I trust You in the troubled ones, too.  Amen.