I have been changing diapers for 17 consecutive years. I am blessed to know many women with big families like ours who have done the same (and more) and lived to tell about it. :) I am helped to know I am not alone. But here lately I have grown a little tired of changing diapers. Sad to say, I've been complaining about this in my head more often than I care to admit with a bit of sighing and stalling. I confess I can be a complainer--maybe not always verbally. Even when I think I am keeping watch over my tongue, it still has a way of coming out. My oldest son once asked me if I realized how much I sigh and how much he disliked it. Ouch! Or I may walk past a mirror and hardly recognize the scowl on my brow. Who is that mean lady?!
When I get myself into a rut of sighing and complaints, I often find God there reminding me of the grace he has poured out. And if his grace were to stop flowing, how many troubles I would really have.
For example, Him reminding me: What if after training all of my children out of diapers, one had a medical need requiring they return to them? I trust if that were to happen, there would be grace for that too. But today I am reminded to be grateful for this gaggle of healthy children. And when he helps me think this way, I am (usually after wrestling my flesh a while) able to continue on with thanks.
I share this as an example in my life where I need to remember the goodness of God. And how adjusting my thoughts helps get rid of my complaints and replace them with gratitude.
The Israelites were camping two years in the desert after God delivered them from slavery. At times they would stay in one place just a few days, other times for weeks or months. They were a moving people--a 600,000 (not counting women and children) company of moving people. God supplied water and heavenly manna for their needs. It was a miraculous thing. Food and water for 600,000+ people! in a desert!
But they still wanted more...more variety: leeks and onions, garlic and herbs...like they had when they were slaves. Just a little spice to add to their manna fritters and manna cakes. Was that too much to ask? They got to thinking that slavery with spice would be better than bland manna with faith...following this guy Moses in circles in the wilderness. I am certain I would have complained for far less than the Israelites did.
But a life of faith is not bland. If and when we begin to think it is, it's because we forget how awful slavery is and that indeed, we are heading to a land flowing with milk and honey, and God is bringing water from the dry places in our life and he is dwelling in our midst. Yet we take our eyes off that and fail to see the grace abounding.
So much could be written about what the complaints of the Israelites signified: their lack of faith, their outright unbelief and accusations against God.
But for today I am challenged to be thankful and not complain about the good work the Lord has given. Why do I struggle with this again and again? Because I forget the big picture too, I guess. That God is working his bigger plans in my everyday doings if I am faithful--doings that often seem mundane and fruitless to me. But they are not fruitless. And he is the one who is truly faithful, even when I am not.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
If like me, you need a reminder today, I pray our hearts will respond to our challenges and blessings with thanks rather than complaints. I am fighting for it today too!
In Christ's love,