Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whines and Complaints

“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” Numbers 11:1

As the Israelites broke camp and set on their new journey they were warned that there would be difficulties in taking the promised land. They had just spent an extended time with God, experienced His magnificent presence and were the audio recipients of God’s voice. How much more did they need to trust Him? But there they were once again, grumbling and complaining about the next trek of their journey.

How soon we forget! My sister and I tease about our family aimlessly running around much like the children of God with good intentions but falling into the same traps as our predecessors. We ask, we plead and we petition to the Father only to be followed up with questions, concerns and complaints (many times). We each have a promised land for which we seek. Our promised land is as individual as each child of God. Sometimes it is a prodigal child returning home, a new job, a new marriage or even freedom from something that has enslaved us.

I remember one day when my children were young and the complaints of the day had overtaken me. I had listened to each complaint, responded for the most part with patience and reminded them of the important reasons for my decisions. It didn’t matter how much time I spent with them they were going to complain about something... anything! I finally decided at 3:00 pm that my day with them was done (Bruce was to be home in about an hour), and that I was going to remove my presence from them. Essentially, I told them I was sending myself to my room. I couldn’t take their grumbling anymore so I left them to wallow in their misery. When I returned in about an hour they were much more thankful and wanted time with me.

I believe that God pulls back His fellowship with us when He senses an ungrateful heart, a grumbling spirit and a mind not focused on Him. We know intuitively when we possess a grumbling spirit and so does God. We experience God in a way that is without reserve but yet we still whine and complain about our circumstances. None of us must look very far to find the life of someone else whose circumstances make ours look like a walk in the park.

I had a friend years ago who was in a whining mode about some aspect of her life and the complaints were continual and ongoing. I’ll never forget when her husband sent her roses during this time of discontent. She opened the card only to read his heart-felt message, “Remember the handicap.” The message penetrated straight to the heart and she had to face the fact that she had lost sight of the blessings in her life.

Next time we grumble and complain about our circumstances, let’s “remember the handicap”!

(Incidentally, my friend threw the roses in the lake!)

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