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Exile is an powerful metaphor for discontinuous change. Not a simple adaptive challenge like buying a bigger pair of pants because all your clothes shrank (go figure). Exile is finding yourself in a unfamiliar place where what used to work doesn’t work anymore.

Christians find themselves in exile these days. We are doing what we’ve always done better than we’ve ever done it and it seems to matter less and less. We want to go back to Egypt (the church life of the 1960’s, 70’s, … pick your decade) but we are only remembering the good, ignoring the bad. It’s just like the Israelites on the way to the promise land. They complained about the struggle of the wilderness remembering fondly the food from Egypt while forgetting the suffering and bondage. God’s provision in the now is forgotten and the comforts of yesterday are all we can think about. Sarah Groves captures this willful sentiment in this song perfectly.

Painting Pictures of Egypt

by Sarah Groves

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
The places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
The place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
It wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

CHORUS:
I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I”ve learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
Caught between the promise
And the things I know

BRIDGE:
If it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?

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