The other day I found myself asking, how long Lord, how long?
I felt overwhelmed.
It didn’t help that I was confined to the bed with flu. My head hurt and body ached like I had been run over by an eighteen wheeler. I felt miserable. Laying there, I grumbled about everything, thinking I don’t have time to be sick! Meanwhile, my mind replayed my to-do list for the 100th time. That’s when I asked, how long Lord, how long?
The week was not going as I expected, so I felt discouraged. Since I had taken this emotional detour, all kinds of thoughts flooded my mind. I felt justified to whine.
Can you relate? Perhaps, like me, you have been waiting on God for a long time and asking the same question, how long Lord?
It is easy to get discouraged, especially if the answer is delayed. When I grumble, it is often due to unmet expectations. However, if not kept in check, grumbling can lead to a pattern of self-pity, discouragement and hyper-focus on the wrong things. It can steal my joy and leave me sour.
The Israelites too had a consistent pattern of grumbling. A few days into their journey in the desert, they couldn’t find drinking water. The only water at Marah was bitter. They griped to Moses, “what are we to drink?” Moses cried to God and the Lord told him to throw a piece of wood into the water and it became drinkable. A little while later, the whole community complained again and accused Moses of bringing them to die in the wilderness.
“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.” Exodus 16:3
Are these the same folks who experienced some amazing miracles of God? It is interesting that they selectively remembered only the good food and forgot about the beatings and hardships in Egypt (Exodus 5).
As I read about the Israelites, I saw a similarity between my attitude and theirs –whining, grumbling and complaining. I realized that I was allowing unmet expectations to interfere with my focus. I needed to adjust my attitude.
Moses had the right attitude. He didn’t allow their frustrations to rattle him, rather he trusted God. He turned to God for help every time the Israelites complained. God answered and provided them with water, manna and meat daily for forty years.
I was inspired to focus on God’s faithfulness by the example of Moses. Thankfully, I redirected my thoughts as I remembered how God has met my family’s needs and continues to deliver us from difficult situations.
Shortly after reading about the Israelites, I received a text message from a friend with a link to this song, “Still” by Hillary Scott. Listening to this song was like a soothing balm to my soul that was shooing the discouragement away.
Shoo, shoo, go away discouragement!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for yielding to the temptation of grumbling. Please help me to pause, pray and choose to trust you rather than grumble. Renew my mind and renew Your Spirit in me. Amen
How you do to keep discouragement at bay? I’d like to love to hear from you.