Humans have a natural tendency to feel disappointed when things seem to be going against us, often times expressing it through complaints and anger. But that only adds to the sense of helplessness and disappointment we're already feeling.
There is a famous story in Numbers 11 where the Israelites complained against God about the lack of variety in their diet. God provided the people with manna which is a nutritious bread, it fell from the sky and the people were instructed to gather it up six days a week.
But after a while the Israelites grew tired of the manna and complained and wailed outside Moses' tent saying that they had better food back in Egypt. Moses, for his part, complained to God about the people's grumbling and went so far as to say that God should just kill him:
"Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin."
This made for a very tense situation. I could imagine the people grumbling and complaining about their daily bread, Moses' agitated complaints to God about the ingratitude of the masses and God's anger about the entire situation.
God responded by saying to Moses "16 “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
18“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?” ’ ”
21But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”
23The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”
24So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said."
It appeared that God was going to give the people exactly what they wanted because He sent quail in from the sea but there was a caveat: "31Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah,because there they buried the people who had craved other food."
The Israelites' complaint was a challenge to God and He met it accordingly.
This isn't to say that we have no right to express our grievances and unhappiness about bad situations. In 1 Peter 5:7 the apostle tells us to "cast all of our anxiety before the Lord for He cares for you."
God wants us to tell Him about what ails us. Asaph did it in Psalm 73 wherein he expressed his sadness about wicked people seemingly getting ahead in life while good righteous people appear to get the short end of the stick.
Habakkuk, an old Testament prophet had a long talk with God about the problems the righteous face (Habakkuk 1 - 3) . He felt dismayed about what he perceived as evil being allowed to profit at the expense of the righteous. The prophet was right in talking to God, he did it in a respectful way in contrast to the Israelites who were ungrateful for what God was providing for them.
Comfort In Our Troubles
I recall how a daughter of God went through great travails but didn't complain. She looked forward with hope to better things and even as her situation grew more serious she held out hope for God and for the words that Peter had said in 1 Peter 5:7.
With all that was going on around her, though there were a few times in which she did seem very sad, she did not rail her fists at God nor wail and cry out or scream. Instead she felt peace in knowing God was with her. God sent the Comforter to her and also blessed her to be with her ever loving children whom she also loves so that she would be okay. This daughter of God also had the support of her many friends who love her.
And in time when God called her spirit home to forever be with Him in heaven she went peacefully in gentle sleep and her children were there and know that her example is a good one. For God does remember and watches and will do His work all the time. (“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abram’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29)
The daughter of God set a good example for her children who are also children of God and all of them have the promise that they all will be reunited in heaven and to do the work of the Lord there for where God is, she is and her children will be in time.
The world is a stressful place. We often make plans and when they don't come to fruition, we get the urge to grumble and complain. But we must be careful to not fall into a sense of entitlement thinking that God owes us something.
We must remember that we belong to God. We are His creation and He will do as He sees fit.
God watches us all the time, nothing is beyond His notice. We must be patient and wait on Him. Because God is compassionate:"The LORD is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love." Psalm 103 (verse 8).
God knows about our pain: "“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)"
God welcomes our sincere complaints: "A prayer of the afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord." Psalm 102:25-27
God is faithful: “Faithful is He who calls you, and He will also bring it to pass.” Thessalonians 5:24
And God knows what He is doing: "For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
So the next time you feel downhearted and feel the urge to complain remember that God already knows.
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