Good morning all! Happy first day of Spring!
16 The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of theLord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8 And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”
The whole congregation of the Israelites are out there in the desert. God has done a revolutionary act by getting them out of slavery. They are now a free people again after generations of exile and slavery. Here’s the problem….because it has been a while, they have forgotten what it means to be free. So when life gets really tough, they start to complain. All of a sudden what was doesn’t look so bad. They start to dream about what was (btw, slaves would have NEVER had access to fleshpots….that is romanticizing the awful past). Then they start to complain. They whine and complain. Complain and whine as they walk and walk…feeling as though this may not have been the best plan. They complain and complain and complain.
I can sooooo relate, can’t you? I can complain with the best of them especially when it isn’t turning out the way that I thought it should. I am confessing to you brothers and sisters….I can really complain sometimes. I whine about why I don’t get to do certain things or if a day isn’t all that great, I complain about that. I can complain about little church things or the weather or the “way things used to be” like it is a sport. I can complain about what God has given me already because I am human. A friend of mine sent me a pretty hilarious video this morning from the tv show Portlandia. I think this show is hilarious but I think you should check it out….
Jason has the sexiest elbows in rock n roll and yet he complains at first. What a burden! What a crazy time! What if things were different? I know it is ridiculous but it is fun for a Thursday morning, right? And perhaps it highlights some of our ridiculousness….
Here’s the part that is pretty awesome though. God doesn’t shun us for complaining. In fact, God responds to the Israelites instead. God doesn’t get angry. God provides what they most need…food and drink. God provides just enough mind you and asks the people to be grateful for that but God doesn’t make fun of them. God actually gives us more abundance in our complaining. I find that when I complain the most, I sometimes get the realization of beauty even more when it shows up. When I finally pull myself out of my own complaining thoughts, I look up to see the most amazing things…perhaps people in just the right place who listen and respond, or the first day of spring and the blooming things around, or gratitude for all that is good in my life and the many blessings I have around me. What if we focused more on gratitude of the things around us?
Gratitude is proven to give us more happiness…here is another video about just that….
Today this your Lenten challenge. Gratitude instead of complaining. There are time for complaints and time for gratitude. Get out your complaints and get ready to thank. We have been given great things. So tell God or someone thank you today. Write it out. Keep it close by. It can be for elbows or food or love or all of the above. It can be for just that person (it would be even great if you let them know). Enjoy.