It seems I’ve spent the majority of my life in the wilderness Lord. So why does it surprise me when I end up back in it? The Israelites were there because of their sin, so I have to stop and examine my heart. Is there some sin You are trying to burn out of my heart, or is this just life in a fallen world? Perhaps it’s both. Certainly there will be rough terrain between here and eternity, and much of it is just the consequence of being in the world. Some of it is fallout from past sin, but all of it is meant to teach me. While I can’t identify any blatant sin responsible for putting me here, I imagine You would like to use this time to help me identify attitudes that are less than content and grateful. I am supposed to rejoice always, yet, just like the Israelites in the desert, I find myself complaining and defeated. I am supposed to be content in all things, rather I am wishing today away and looking forward to the brighter future I envision. However, I get the feeling that until I can find contentment here in this valley I will not be moving on to that Promised Land that exists in my mind.
After the children of Israel were miraculously delivered from Egypt, they continued to complain about every little obstacle that arose, as if You did not see or care. I guess they figured that if You called them out, You would also make the path easy—but You didn’t. When I read those stories, I think it was ridiculous for them to complain after You had proven yourself over and over. Plus, You were physically manifesting yourself to them in a cloud by day and fire by night. I’ve often judged the Israelites for complaining, but here I am doing the same. Only my obstacles are 21st century problems instead of bitter waters and a lack of meat. For me it is constant demands, a messy house, lack of organization, and difficult people. You have proven yourself to me again and again, yet when a problem arises I act as if You don’t see or care. I complain. Though I think am grumbling about circumstances, in reality I am grumbling against You (Ex. 16:8), because You are sovereign over my circumstances. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10 that the examples in the Old Testament were written for our instruction, so that we can learn lessons about idolatry, immorality, and complaining. He reminds us that those who complained were “destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:10). “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Cor.10:11-13).
As I read all of that I realize that You definitely have some work to do in my life! Please forgive me, and help me change from a grumbler to one who praises You in all things. Yes, I praise You daily, but it is not enough. It’s like I tell my husband, he can take all the vitamins in the world, but when he fills his body with junk food he negates the good he’s done. I suppose it’s the same with spiritual health. I can praise You in the morning, but when I fill the rest of my day with complaints, I am working against myself—and You! Please help me to have a constant attitude of thankfulness and praise. Forgive the negativity that I have allowed to rule from time to time. Today help me replace every complaint with thanksgiving, because You are good and worthy of all praise. Today I will choose to be thankful. Amen