Wandering. Complaining...

Today in Sunday School, the lesson continued on the Children of Israel and their life, once they made it through the dry bed miracle of the Red Sea that was mercifully provided for them.   The conversation was about how they kept complaining, many couldn't do the simple things that were required of them...like the 'look and live' kinds of simple things.  They wished for the 'easier' times when they were in bondage, at least they had food.  There's always an "At Least" we can make mention of.  They complained at every turn as if no miracle had been witnessed along their journey.

It's so easy to read their story and assume that they were simply, ungrateful people because of their murmuring.  How could God in His wisdom choose these people to be the CHOSEN ones?  It takes no effort to pick apart the way they handled their wandering trials in the desert...the trials that lasted not just a few days...but many, many years!  Years of struggle.  YEARS!!  We can do anything for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but what do we do when it goes beyond that?  Probably complain.

I've thought about the Children of Israel many times as I circle around my own trials that go on without end or relief.

There is no doubt we have been blessed beyond measure.
There is no doubt we have witnessed miracle, after miracle.  Daily, there are miracles.  The fact we even get up day after day and approach the needful things are miracles!
There is no doubt we are being led along and that God is in the tiny, hardly noticeable details of the day.

BUT....

Does that mean, when I murmur or complain that I am ungrateful? Does it mean that I have forgotten the dry bed of my own Red Sea parting?  Does it imply that I am doubting God, that He can never do enough for me?

Somehow...I think that is the take away lesson we have been taught or heard.  The only acceptable way to handle our testing and trials is with complete, humble, patient, careful surrender to God.   We no longer allow people the privilege of feeling the sad, heartbreaking, sting of the trial so they can feel the calm and healing balm that follows, even if it is only briefly.  Remember the fruit debacle in the Garden of Eden?  Ya...heartbreak is part of the plan...Good and Evil.  Virtue and Vice.  Joy...Despair...these are the essence of discipleship I daresay.

There is much to be learned in the wrestle, that can be learned in no other way or time.  From a couple of posts ago, remember that God is a relentless teacher and giver of experiences.  I can testify, that without apology, He places his disciples in impossible situations so that they can see and witness the wonder that He is in charge.  For us to change from water to wine, as he intends, it is not going to be comfortable, nor will it be easy.  How can he possibly expect us to make that change without a little questioning.  A little doubt. A little murmuring.

The more I listened to the comments in class today, the more compassion I had for the Children of Israel.  The more I appreciated and respected the hardships they passed through as a chosen people.  The most chosen throughout history had moments of doubt or as we like to point out...complaining.

Perhaps the Children of Israel were not doubting God but themselves.  Perhaps they couldn't see how they how much longer the trial would be.  Perhaps they were just tired.

I think being reminded of this today and the added insight I received was a tender mercy.  I have spent more time than I should have, complaining to God this weekend.  I have been sad and depressed like I've never been before.  I have all but thrown in the towel because I can't do this trial perfectly, the way I feel I am suppose to.  It's hard and I'm tired.  I'm so tired and I wish I knew when it would end.  How it would end.  I can't imagine waking up in the morning to the same struggles I left in yesterday...but they will still be there and I will be surprised that everything isn't magically better and the miracle complete.

Yet, there is more for me to learn, I imagine.  The miracle of changing me from water to wine , one of God's greatest and earliest miracles, is not yet complete and the pace is ever so slow.  Without a doubt, I am in the midst of impossible situations so there will be no confusion in the moments when we see the hand of God because man can do no more for us and I have exhausted my resources and reached my human limits.  As we come to terms with this thought, and wander on our way to some promised end where joy awaits,  I think God is okay with me not being okay.  Maybe.  I hope so anyways because this isn't okay but it is where God circled on a map and Christ awaits...ever waiting for us to catch up, watching with love and mercy at every wandering, complaining, turn...

 

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