Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exod 14:11-12).
“Don’t look down!”
Have you ever tried rock-climbing?
My uncle is a rock-climber (see the cover here and p. 10 here). He still climbs, and he’s in his 60s. Meanwhile, my dad developed the hi-rise rescue team for his fire department. When dad was learning those skills, he would take us kids to go practice rock climbing. Those experiences were enough to convince me never to do it again!
A piece of advice I often heard was, “Don’t look down!”
Because if I did, I would be focusing on my problems, i.e., the series of bad decisions that led a flightless, clawless mammal such as I to climb up a rock face I had no business being on. “It’s not the fall that kills you but the sudden stop at the end!” Thanks, dad! And by focusing on the problems, eventually, that’s all I would see. It would fill up my field of vision until I saw nothing else. And that’s when I would freeze.
The Jews were becoming paralyzed with fear. When they saw the Egyptian armies coming and that they had no (earthly) hope of escape, they started turning on Moses and started wishing they could be slaves in Egypt again. Anything would be better than dying in the wilderness! In short, they looked down and focused on their problems. And when they did that, they started to get overwhelmed and began to “awfulize” about their situation.
That brings me to the next principle about worrying:
Principle 4: Focusing on the problem leads to fear, not to faith.
If you struggle with worry, you need to realize how worrying can spiral out of control. So if you want to overcome your worry, focusing on your problems even more than before isn’t the answer. Begin by recognizing that mental habit of feeding your worry. Instead, feed your faith by turning to God.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. (Ps 121:1-2 NASB).
In other words, if you’re half-way up a mountain, and fear is setting in, don’t look down; look up!