The Story - Week 4
Complain, complain, complain!!! Of all the themes in this week's reading one that stood out to me is how often the people are complaining.
As the story begins we find them crying out about the slavery. This is a good complaining. No one should be happy being in slavery to a godless master. No one should settle for an existence that has no real eternal purpose. Sometimes complaining is a virtue.
But after God acts the complaining goes from good to bad!! When things get even tougher after Moses confronts Pharaoh they really let Moses have it! Why was Moses confronting Pharaoh? To get them some relief so they wouldn't have to complain so much. Did they think the problem would just go away without a little effort?
Then (well after a few miracles and plagues) deliverance comes and you'd think the complaining would stop. But nooooooooooo! More complaining. When they are trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's ensuing army they complain. They even remind Moses that he should have left them alone to serve the Egyptians! "Who asked you to save us anyway?" is their refrain.
They're in the wilderness for three days … THREE DAYS … and start complaining because they can't find water. "If only we died in Egypt," is their new cry! They grumble, they whine, they second guess, they rebel. Complain, complain, complain!
There's good complaining and bad complaining and Israel has become a master at the latter!
Am I a good complainer or a bad complainer?
It's easy to be a bad complainer, even in church! There's always a reason to whine and grumble - the parking is terrible, the pews are uncomfortable, the service is long, the audio-visual is messed up, church members are insensitive, the preaching is … let's not even go there!!!
Here's my conclusion. Life is tough, there will always be challenges, there will always be a reason to complain. My feet will be sore, my back will hurt, my soul will become weary whether I'm in slavery or liberation. Let's give them this, liberation wasn't as easy as they thought it would be. But isn't liberation better than slavery? Isn't it better to endure difficulties knowing you're going somewhere rather than just suffer with no goal in life?
I do need to complain when I am not living out God's purpose in my life, but then, when he gives me a purpose, a journey, then stop complaining and get on with task at hand -- no matter how difficult it may be.
On my journey I may get parched, I may be surrounded by enemies, I may get discouraged - but God help me not to complain. Help me never long for those days, perhaps even easier days, when I had no purpose. Lord, set me on my path and give me the strength to walk with purpose and courage (and as little complaining as possible)!