If there is any such thing as a universal question, it may be this: Are we there yet? Generations of children have asked it. They have then grown into adults who have to answer the same question when their children ask.

Whenever I read the books of Moses, I wonder how many times he heard that question from the Israelites. Before rescuing them from slavery and leading them out of Egypt, Moses told them that the Lord would lead them to “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). He did, but first they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. This was no ordinary wandering, however. They were not lost; they were wandering for a purpose. After 400 years of slavery, the children of Israel needed to have their hearts, souls, and minds reoriented toward God. This was accomplished in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2,15-18), but not before an entire generation died because of their disobedience (Num. 32:13).

In life, it sometimes seems as if we are wandering in circles. We feel lost. We want to ask God, “Are we there yet? How much longer?” At such times, it helps to remember that the journey, not just the destination, is important to God. He uses it to humble us, test us, and show us what is in our hearts.