Monday, October 17, 2016

The Complainer’s Roller Coaster - Martin Wiles

But the people grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. Numbers 21:4 NLT

Riding roller coasters is not my forte. 

I can recall getting on Thunder Road at Carowinds Theme Park once—and only then to please a girlfriend. I clung to my seat—and my girlfriend, as the row of cars inched its way to the top of the first mountain. I held my breath as my car began its breathtaking descent through the valleys and curves to follow. No loops. No corkscrews. Just up and down and around curves at breakneck speed. I sighed a breath of relief when the string of cars finally came to a stop. 

I’ve also ridden another type of roller coaster—one the ancient Israelites rode quite often as well: the complainer’s roller coaster. God had delivered them from 400 years of slavery, but that wasn’t good enough. They quickly disobeyed Him and were sentenced to 40 years of wilderness wandering. Even then, He made sure they had food, water, and shelter. That wasn’t good enough either. They complained about what He gave as well as the timing of His giving it. 

The Israelites didn’t complain continuously; nor do I. Like the roller coaster, my complaining is up and down. Enough, however, I’m sure to rattle God’s nerves. Some maintain complaining doesn’t change a thing. Often it does, but there are healthier ways to affect change than through a griping attitude. 

Complaining shows my lack of appreciation for the way God is caring for me. I may think I know best how my needs should be met, but only a God who can peer into the future really does. A faith walk lives not by sight but by trust in a God who is all-knowing and unconditionally loving. 

My complaints reveal that I doubt God’s goodness. God is good all the time. My definition of good and His may vary, but I must trust He has my best interests at heart. 

When I complain, I question God’s methods. His ways are higher than mine and often beyond my ability to understand. He is God; I am not. 

Much better than complaining is our willingness to accept our situations, to be content in them, and to ask God what He is trying to teach us through them. 

Complete trust takes us off the complainer’s roller coaster. 

Prayer: Father, prompt us to ride the roller coaster of thankfulness rather than complaining.

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