Why is the Lord bringing us to this land [of Canaan], to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said one to another, “Let us appoint a [new] leader and return to Egypt.”Numbers 14: 3-4 AMP
Question: Is the word better equivocal?
Now for those of you are like me and read the word equivocal and went, “What?” I got you.
Equivocal: Allowing the possibility of several different meanings, especially with the intent to deceive.
Now that we all know what equivocal means, back to the question: Is better equivocal?
It seems like it isn’t. The definition being something most people agree on as an adjective to describe a superior option. We use it like that, but then looking deeper, we have to ask, who is defining what this superior option is?
This whole deep dive into better started with my writing partner. She is an amazing, Godly woman with a husband and kiddo she loves. She and I met while doing this Role Playing writing game a year ago. We chose and formed characters that just clicked as brothers and were amazing to write. When the game stopped, we continued to write together. A little while back, we wrote something and it blew my mind.
This really bad thing happened to my character in the scenario we created. Before this thing happened, my character was struggling but he was doing okay, he was making it. He was better. Then this bad thing happens, and he finds himself lost and injured in a situation he doesn’t know how to deal with and with people that need help. He’s scared and he keeps acting out on it. Which he knows hurts this new group and the people injured.
So as he’s scrambling to try to make himself better, one of my writing partner’s characters tells him to pray. So he does. Now, let me give some behind the scene knowledge. Spoiler alert, I was dealing with a similar issue as my character. Go figure!
My foot which was broken almost two years ago was hurting. I had run around chasing kids the day before and then ran errands that morning. It was throbbing in pain. I had to cancel plans because my foot hurt so bad. So going into this prayer I was supposed to write for my character, I was feeling my character. At that moment, I was my character.
“God, I don’t want to take a break. I can’t take a break. I shouldn’t be struggling so much now. I should feel good, I should be able to do what I did before. I was better, God.”
My character, I, prayed that. And as soon as I finished writing that, God spoke in my Spirit. A small whisper that said:
“Maybe for a while you do have to let yourself take a break. Let yourself trust others. And you are better. But that doesn’t make you feel better and that’s okay.“
I froze. Literally, I froze. Because here I was pushing myself, condemning myself, deceiving myself that because I was hurting, I wasn’t better. When in all actuality, I was. I just ran a lot, it’s been raining off and on the past couple of days, and there’s still metal in my foot. It hurts. But that doesn’t mean that it “wasn’t” better than before. Before, when it was broken, I was in a cast. It hurt to even sway to music. So going from not being able to sway to being able to run around and chase kids, how is that not better?
It is. But to me, because I was hurting and being better isn’t supposed to hurt, I deceived myself that I wasn’t better. Just like the Israelites who told themselves that being slaves, being hungry, mistreated, and used, was better than the possibility of losing a battle with Canaan. The pain they knew before was better than the fear they were facing now.
So many times, we, or at least I, think that better means no pain or that things are easy, good. But that’s not always the case. The better option doesn’t mean that it is the easier or less painful option, I just want it to be. Then my want defines that word, better. Not God.
So better can be equivocal. I can deceive myself and change what better means with what I want it to mean.
But thankfully, I have an amazing, awesome, and honest Father in God. He tells me that better is not what I want. He says that being hurt and taking a break does not erase the work it took to get me where I am. He says that He loves talking to me, meeting me right where I am, better or not. He, the God of truth, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, my savior and father, says that He loves me and it’s okay to be better, but not feel better or good. His grace is made perfect in my weakness.
And isn’t His grace, His love, His truth better than anything my want can define?