While serving the synagogue it was my privilege to establish in Southern California, my wife and I frequently sailed our forty-four foot cutter to Catalina Island. On that 26 mile jaunt, we often saw dolphins, whales, and other beguiling sea life.
When fog set in, I’d think of Florence Chadwick, who in 1952 set out to swim from Catalina to the mainland. When fog obscured her goal, she lost her drive and abandoned her attempt. Despair defeated Florence.
After the fog lifted she was horrified to see that she had quit only half a mile from the beach. Two months later, with the coastline visible, she tried again and succeeded.
Let’s understand this principle from Moses, who in one Scriptural account responds to Israel’s provocation with steadfast leadership while elsewhere in the Bible he responds to similar provocation with exasperation, hopelessness, and even despair.