I often quietly celebrate all 25ths of any month because my birthday falls on a 25th during the summer. But this 25th I was not met with the awareness of having lived to see another year but instead the awareness that my heart had become a home for complaint. I had recently relocated to a new city — a place to which I had not planned to move. It was a city that was confirmed multiple times as where God was leading me. So here I am. Awakened just before 5:00 am EDT to the awareness that I had been in this new place for more than a month and yet my heart was still back where I’d left it — many miles away. This awareness and longing for what was no longer wasn’t what was problematic — it was this commitment to reject what good was present in this new place, even God.
This is where I came face-to-face with my own rebellion — the problem with complaint isn’t that we long for negative things — it’s that we long for what isn’t extended to us by God’s provision at this time in this place. Like Israel, we want meat when he provides manna. We crave for the comforts of a familiar place we once knew despite its limitations; despite its inability to contain all that we are called to be, its familiarity entices us to resign ourselves to less. Like Israel our journey to the expansive promised place may be significantly delayed (if not altogether abandoned) if we continue to pursue this path of discontentment.
But let me be honest — I do not have a five step plan to get out of discontentment — in fact I need that plan — so if you encounter it, feel free to pass it along. But there is one thing that I have discovered on this 25th that I’ll share with you — if when tempted to complain against God and his choice I instead reflect on this word, there is hope to be found moving from complaint and worry toward trust and praise — the foundation of true worship. This gift is one I’ll cherish and I pray you do too.
Rather than question the goodness of God, I/we can make (and continue to make) an impenetrable choice to trust that his goodness has and will show itself strong on my/our behalf. In due time.
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14–15 NLT
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 NLT