And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies. so that they had dominion over them. yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies... Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did you make an end of them of forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. — Nehemiah 9:27-28, 30-31; ESV
Back and forth. Back and forth. I've played ping pong, and I am a stud (so long as we keep it fun and not get competitive — I can beat my 6 and 3-year-old boys). But if you've ever watched ping pong during the Olympics, oh my goodness. I can't even see the ball. They are just going crazy. But there's not a lot of movement away from that table. The ball goes back and forth, back and forth.
That's us with God. Back and forth. When things are difficult, we are crying out to God and seeing him come through to save us once again. But then we hit a time of rest and relaxation and we take off again. The Israelites did it. We do it. Complacency so easily creeps in during times of comfort. When complacency is waking up in the heart of a believer, Jesus will do what is necessary to wake us up again.
I'm convinced that it doesn't have to be this way. Let's be a people who are truly after the heart of Jesus. I don't want to have to come back because I don't ever want to stray. In fact, I wrote this prayer in my Bible after I read this passage: "Jesus, please keep me on a choker-chain of grace so that I stay right next to you."