Simpler Time (Deuteronomy 8:2-5)

Artificial intelligence. Gender fluidity. Wokeism. Culture wars. Global warming. COVID.

Whenever I engage in an in-depth discussion of these topics with adults over 50 years of age, I hear an often- repeated phrase. “Things were a lot simpler when we were younger.” I understand the sentiment but was it really a simpler time? Perhaps some of us think this because we were younger with less responsibilities, selectively retrieving only happier memories. Indeed, there are many lenses from which one may remember the past. To this point, I also have colleagues from a generation or two before mine, who aver that the times when they were growing up were actually much darker and more complex. 

What were some of these crises? In 1945, the world witnessed the birth of the atomic age with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. If one goes further back into history, there were equally grim times. The fall of the Roman empire heralded the beginning of the Dark Ages. The Bubonic plague plunged Europe into the most horrific public health crisis. These were some of the existential threats that earlier generations faced.  If we lived through those experiences, everything seemed hopeless at the time, perhaps far worse than what we are currently experiencing. 

Our current circumstances may appear complex, even hopeless. God reminds us that no matter how dire our circumstances are, if we trust Him, He will keep His promise and deliver us as He always does. The Israelites needed to be reminded of God’s provisions and promises. 

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Deuteronomy 8:2-5 (NLT)

An emerging nation of over a hundred thousand people roamed the wilderness for forty years. They had no permanent cities. As they wandered, they were attacked by neighboring kingdoms. There was no constant source of food. For some, their circumstances seemed even bleaker than when they were slaves in Egypt, from which God had delivered them through the leadership of Moses. Perhaps some even thought that Egypt was a simpler time, forgetting how much they suffered during this ordeal. How did God respond? He provided manna, a complete and nourishing food. He took care of their material needs, ensuring their clothes did not wear out. He attended to their physical needs, ensuring their feet did not swell from nutritional deficiencies or injury. In spite of all these provisions, God still had to remind the Israelites that He was always in control. 

Whether we think times were simpler in the past or in the present, life is always complicated. Shifting moralities. Fluid definitions. Health challenges. The only constant is God-unchanging, sovereign, and omnipotent. God always takes us back to a simpler time when all we need to do is trust Him with child-like faith. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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