There is something about the journey that happened to the Israelites. Obviously they received the law from God on Mt. Sinai, but their identity was shaped by their moments in the desert. In Jeremiah 2, God compares the time in the desert to a honeymoon. Some honeymoon! But think about how God lavished his love on Israel, pouring forth miracle after miracle. Think about the dependence Israel showed to Him.
There is a strange desire within us to "just get through this" as if what lies on the other side will bring us our greatest contentment (think the weekend, release of a new movie, finishing of a large project). But what if "this" is exactly where God wants us? What if "this" is where God wants to lavish himself on us?