Why do we always complain about the weather?
[Present Day: Georgia. November 2015] Rain. Gray skies. Cold. Wet yards. Oil-slicked roads. Household pets refuse to go outside. People stay in. Retail sales fall. Church attendance falls. Charitable giving falls.
[Rewind: Georgia. October 2007] No rain. No clouds in sight. So hot. Rivers and reservoirs drop to record lows. Lakes close. Lawns die. Water rationing/conservation measures are implemented. Retail sales fall. Church attendance falls. Charitable giving falls.
In both of these real scenarios, life goes on in this country. Americans continue to work, to eat, to live. Are there hardships? Undoubtedly, but that’s nothing new. There are always hardships in life. I’m sure some have it worse than others, but we survive and go on. And eventually we find something else to complain about.
I’m reminded of a Bible story when God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. There, their lives were a misery, each day filled with hard labor and physical abuse. They belonged to slave masters who viewed them as assets, work animals, and who held a slave’s very life in their hands. The Israelites cried out in misery for 430 years as each generation sank deeper into despair.
And GOD answered their prayers. He raised up a leader to free them from oppression and guide them into a new life without bondage. He gave them value again, love, and hope. Imagine if you were there, one of the Israelites and a firsthand witness to all the miracles as Moses tried to convince Pharaoh to “Let my people go.”
Water turned to blood. Swarms of frogs and locusts. Fish dying. Biting insects. Boils and diseases. Livestock dying. Fiery hail storms. Darkness blinding the sun. Any of these events alone wouldn’t astound, but to occur one right after another? And then to see the firstborn Egyptian children die as predicted? Only those, while you and your people remained safe?
I try to imagine what my reaction would have been. Astonished at first. Amazed. Wary as the devastation increased. Apprehensive. Shocked. Fearful. Terrified even. And hopeful. Yeah, I want to be on Moses’s side.
But the wonders didn’t stop after Pharaoh freed the Israelites. Now they had to follow by faith. We don’t know the actual numbers of the Jewish exodus, but it’s estimated to be at least three million people who departed from Egypt on foot, herding animals, pulling wagons, and carrying what they could.
Talk about blind faith! To follow a man who’d been born a Jew but raised as an Egyptian, who murdered one of the slave drivers forty years before, who subsequently ran away and hid in the desert. That took faith to leave your home and every familiar thing you know to follow a stranger through the desert. And then to see – to actually SEE a raging river part for them – and close behind them. To watch the water flood over the Egyptian army giving chase and then watch the soldiers drown. Yeah, Jehovah’s got this. It’s not difficult to have faith when you experience miracles up close and personal. I can almost see Moses smirk. “My GOD is bigger than all your little gods combined.”
Three days later, after all the hoopla calmed down, the Israelites forgot about the miracles.
“The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16 (NIV)
“I’m tired of walking.” “I’m hungry.” “We’re lost.” “Where are we going?” “We’re gonna starve. It would be better if we’d stayed in Egypt. At least there we wouldn’t die hungry.”
So GOD provided manna from heaven to sustain them.
“There’s no water.”
So GOD provided a rock and told Moses to strike it, and water poured forth.
“But we want meat.”
So GOD provided quail.
“We’re tired of quail.”
Really guys? God freed you from slavery, provided everything you needed, performed miracle after miracle … but it wasn’t enough.
Instead of rejoicing in their newfound freedom, instead of being thankful for the wondrous things Jehovah had done on their behalf, instead of looking forward with hope and excitement to what this same God might have in store for them – they complained.
Now here we are in America, almost four thousand years later, still complaining. Other nations starve while we have the largest garbage concession in the world. People in third-world countries labor in the fields from daylight to dark just to survive while Americans pay to go exercise in a gym. They fall sick because they don’t have enough to eat while most of our illnesses stem from overeating . Villages exist with no clean water, yet we spent more money than they’ll see in a lifetime for Starbucks coffee. They hoard candles to see by while we spend fortunes on the latest electronic gizmos.
And we complain about the rain.
Ponder these Christian truths:
God created you.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
God has a plan for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 19:11
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Phillipians 2:14
Believers have the promise of eternity with God.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Make it a point to rejoice.
“For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.” Psalm 33:21
“For everything created by GOD is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” 1 Timothy 4:4
I leave you with one of the Apostle Paul’s blessings. “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:3