Lately I’ve been reading through the book of Numbers. For some reason, this book is always particularly challenging to me. So in the turmoil of moving, I started spending time in the book of Numbers again. When I began studying chapters 11-13, God began to truly convict me.
The chapters start with the people complaining about their misfortunes. They started with a simple complaint about their life. This led to discontentment with what God had given them. Once they were discontent, they became possessive and jealous over positions of authority. Once they became possessive and jealous, they quickly became judgemental of those in authority. The end result was a complete lack of trust toward what God had done and was doing among the Israelites. So much so, they couldn’t even step into the promised land. The land that was perfect for them. The land God promised He would give them.
And it all started with complaints.
The complaints even seem small at first. I mean they were living in tents, in the dessert, with very little water, and no variety in food.
But still we see their slippery slope of demise begin with these simple complaints.
And simple complaints were what seemed to fill my mind as we began the moving process.
If only the kids would settle down. If only they would adjust quicker. If only we had the money to enroll them in activities. If only we could afford our own house so we wouldn’t have to move twice. If only….
When I focus on the “if only”, my focus immediately shifts from who God is, and I begin to crave what I don’t have. The cravings lead to jealousy of what others have which in turn leads to an absolute lack of trust in God.
The cycle is quick and happens before you even noticed it began.
And then I sat down with the kids to go through our Bible verse for the week, and God speaks through them to stop my complaining.
“A peaceful heart brings healing to the body but envy rots the bones.” Prov. 14:30
As we talk through what envy means, the girls say,
“I’m envious that we can’t do gymnastics. ” “I’m envious I don’t get to do ice skating lessons.” “I’m envious…. “ and the examples kept coming from them. So we started to talk about the things they wanted to do.
I heard myself asking them if God always gives us EXACTLY what we need. They responded yes and started giving examples of how God has provided for us. Then we talked about how all things come through the hand of God. We finally came around to discussing how God has a plan for each girls’ life and how He will always accomplish it.
By the end of the conversation, one of the girls laughed and said, “its silly to be envious then because God gives us everything we need even if we think we need more.”
The other girl responded, “yeah, and plus envy rots your insides and the only way to heal your insides is to trust God is taking care of you.”
Talk about summarizing the Israelites (and me at times, if I’m honest) in a nutshell. Envy rotted their insides so that they were never satisfied and could never trust what God was doing.
When we trust the Bible as God’s Word, when we truly believe what it says is truth, when we agree the best way to live life is in obedience to God, we are able to finally understand the destructive nature of simple complaints.
Lord give me the grace to see daily life as a gift from you, lacking in nothing, and full of exactly what you desire.