I woke up super cranky today.
I overslept, I chose to eat leftover oatmeal instead of the bacon and eggs the hubs made and I began a walk with the hubs but when he started walking ahead of me I turned around and went home. All out of sheer crankiness. Part of it was that I had walked all over Kingdom Come yesterday with the wrong shoes, (I know you feel my pain). But that wasn’t the real reason for the crankiness… Ive been reading in Exodus about the children of Israel and I woke up thinking about them, out in the desert for 40 years walking around the same mountain, walking in circles, looking at the same rocks and the same cactus. The thought of that would make anyone a little cranky, but not the level of cranky I was exhibiting . Nope, what caused me to be cranky was that I realized I was just like them.
A couple of days ago the hubs and I had a good conversation, and part of the conversation was about a couple of areas of life that I wanted to see changes in and a regret that I had. We determined the changes that were needed and moved on in our conversation. But this morning as I was contemplating the children of Israel with my cranky pants on, I recognized what bothered me so much. You see, the conversation I had with my husband, I’ve had that very same conversation before, maybe even twice before, and I’ve come to the same conclusions, had the same regret and decided on the same course of actions that were needed to change those areas. It was then I realized I have been here before!!! I am still walking around the same mountain! Looking at the same cactus and the same rocks! What utter frustration I felt. (Thus, the crankiness.)
What was it that kept the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years?
1. Complaining, complaining about everything. I am guilty of that! I’m a blessed women, I’ve been pregnant four times and came out of the hospital with 4 beautiful babies, I’ve been married to a faithful man for almost 33 years, I have a closet full of shoes, I am saved and on my way to heaven, I have a roof over my head and food on my table. What in the world do I have to complain about? In truth, nothing. In my head, plenty. Time after time I’ve shown my ungrateful heart through complaining. God has been so good to me and still I fuss and fume over things that have no eternal significance. God forgive me.
2. Unbelief. Even after all God had done for them, miraculously delivering them from pharoahs army and the plagues of Egypt, they refused to believe that God could get them past one last hurdle and into the promised land. Guilty again! I’ve seen God come through for me and for my family more times than I can count. I’ve seen him meet our needs when it seemed liked there was no way our need could be met. I’ve seen him bless us and favor us time after time. And yet now, when I am facing another hurdle, I doubt him. I doubt that he will help us pay off our debt, I doubt that he will bless and grow our church and I doubt that other needs I have will be met. Oh how I doubt… But God is so faithful, “rich in mercy” according to his word, and in spite of my doubts he still leads, guides and blesses me, he still calls me his child and still reminds me of his promises.
3. They kept looking back at where they came from and they changed the truth of what they’d been through. The truth is that they were enslaved and beaten, forced to labor under horrible conditions but they chose to remember all the lovely fruits and vegetables they had to eat. Really?!? Some times we look back at the past and remember it as better than it really was, we look at it through rose colored glasses, just like the children of Israel did. But sometimes we look back and see things as worse than they really were, that is my sin. I have looked back over a period of my life and there was one person that did not seem to accept me, they did not give me the approval I so desperately wanted from them, at least they didn’t give me acceptance and approval in a way that I understood, maybe they did and I just didn’t recognize it. But I have looked back at that period of my life and all I see is that persons disapproval. I remember that period as being very hurtful and full of rejection and I totally forget the people that did love and accept and approve of me. I was surrounded by people that were so kind to me and loving and allowed me into their life and I didn’t appreciate it. Bottom line, just like the children of Israel, I have looked back at the past and allowed it to affect my future. I have allowed my ungratefulness, my unbelief and my altered view of the past to keep me in a holding pattern that has stopped me from completely stepping into the future God has for me.
In the story of Moses and the children of Israel, the Bible says that they ended up waiting to enter the promised land until all the complainers died out. I’m not willing to wait that long! I’m just going to go ahead and kill them off right now! The Bible calls us to a life of sacrifice, Paul refers to it in 1 Corinthians when he makes the statement, “I die daily”. So that’s what I am going to do, I will put to death my ungratefulness, put to death my fear and doubt, and learn to look back over my past with a thankful heart for all that God has done for me and then I will make every effort to step into the wonderful future that he has planned. And I will probably have to do it daily!