By Erin Davis
Oh, the Exodus. What a strange and troublesome blot on the story of God’s people…
Every time I read about how God delivered His people from slavery with dramatic interventions like plagues and parting the Red Sea I am amazed. But within a few pages, when God’s people start grumbling about petty issues like food, frankly I want to slap them silly.
How could they doubt God’s goodness after all they had seen? How could they gripe about the menu when God had delivered them from slavery? How could they consistently be such a stubborn people when God had demonstrated such a soft heart toward them? If I had been among them, surely I would have responded differently…
Hindsight has a way of distorting reality, doesn’t it? Since I can read the Israelites’ story from beginning to end, I tend to take on the role of backseat driver. I can see where they zigged but should have zagged. I can see where they grumbled but should have worshipped. I can see where they doubted but should have trusted. When I read their story, I start to feel a little self-righteous.
But lately, it’s occurred to me that motherhood is manna.
Manna = those things that I beg God for, but once He delivers, I start complaining.
I prayed and prayed for my children. I asked God to make my boys strong and brave. Oh, they’re strong all right — strong-tempered, strong-willed, and very skilled at strong-arming my day. I hear myself complaining about them to God (in my heart, if not out loud) when He has done exactly what I asked and given me exactly what I requested.
I asked God for children. He rained down beautiful gifts, straight from heaven. And my default is to gripe.
What happened when the Israelites failed to manage their manna? What was God’s response when they complained after He gave them exactly what they asked for?
[box]“Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them” (Numbers 11:1-3).[/box]
The memory of that fire must have lasted about as long as my own memory of God’s goodness. Before long the people started complaining that they didn’t have fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic” (Numbers 11:5).
How ungrateful do you have to be to complain about a shortage of leeks? Moses got caught up in the collective misery and asked God to kill him in order to deliver from the sound of the Israelites’’ constant complaining” (Numbers 11:14).
What a hissy fit! And all over some herbs and meat!
There are loads of warnings in this story, but here’s my big takeaway: 1. My default is to complain about my children, even when God gives me exactly what I ask for. 2. When I allow my heart to go there, I can expect anger to be God’s (righteous) response.
I wonder if you do the same.
Are the children around your dining room table a direct answer to prayer? Has God given you what you’ve asked for in those children, only to hear you complain often about them?
Are you managing your manna well? Do you receive the things you ask God for with a heart of gratitude and praise? Or are you more like me and those stubborn Israelites? Is grumbling your default? Do you tend to approach God always asking for more?
ERIN DAVIS is the founder of Graffiti Ministries, an organization dedicated to addressing the issues of identity, worth, and true beauty in the lives of young women. She is the author of Beyond Bath Time, which addresses the importance of motherhood as a sacred role. A popular speaker, author and blogger, Erin has addressed women of all ages nationwide and written several books including Beyond Bath Time, Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves, True Princess, and The Bare Facts, co-written with Josh McDowell. Her quest for the perfect scoop of ice cream is never ending and her children Eli and Noble are her constant source of entertainment.
Originally posted 03.15.2013 at www.beyondbathtime.com.