Do you ever wonder what the Israelites sounded like in the wilderness, complaining nonstop? <====Click to Tweet
I hadn’t thought of it much until I traveled with eight high school students to Costa Rica. For seven days straight all I heard was constant complaints. I was so ready to go home after day three, so I have no clue how God could stand it for 40 years. Or how Moses didn’t say – “Peace! I’m out of here. I’m heading to the Promised Land without you.”
On the second day of our trip, I was feeling so frustrated that I went to God to ask how I could show these kids love when all I want to do is to put conditions on their behavior. I wanted to say, “The next time I hear a complaint, we are canceling all activities for the day.” Yet that is not how God treats me, so I asked him for patience and to teach me how to deal with their behavior in a Christ-like manner.
I wish I could say they turned into angels after my prayer. But the complete opposite happened. Their grumbling started off with little comments like, “This is so stupid why do we have to do that?” “Why are there so many bugs here?” “Why do we have to eat this?” My thought was Did you read where you were going? I kept saying, “Welcome to Costa Rica.”
I thought for sure the kids would eventually adjust and be grateful for the experience to be in an amazing place like Costa Rica. While my students saw bugs and a variety of animals as a nuisance, I saw God’s creation in its fullness.
Yet it started to get worse with more complaints like, “You guys are so unorganized.” “Why do we have to wait?” “Why can’t we eat over there?” “Why do they keep making us eat this type of food?” “Why do I have to walk?” “Why can’t we take a car?”
It’s really hard to stay positive in a negative environment. <==Click to Tweet
The Negative Nancy’s on the trip were impacting my day and my mood. I couldn’t help but wonder, Do I sound like this Lord when I’m in the waiting period of my God-sized Dream?
A resounding YES! came to mind.
The truth is when I grumble about my God-sized Dream not moving fast enough, it grows into complaining and whining. I start throwing a tantrum in the middle of the floor. I start to sound like my students.
Discontent takes us away from the heart of God and we end up chiming in with the enemy. He wants us to stop believing and start to wander in the wilderness. He wants us to let go of God’s hand and start to focus on the circumstance. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy our God-sized Dream.
We need to heed Joshua’s call when he ordered the army at the wall of Jericho, “Do not shout; do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” Joshua 6:10 NLT
I want to encourage us to do the same.
Don’t utter a complaint.