Numbers 11:6 – But now our appetites are gone, and day after day we have nothing to eat but this manna! (NLT)
I have an admission. I'm often accosted by a complaining spirit. After all, it seems easier to complain than to look for the good in situations. When a car passes me in a downpour because I'm going too slow, and the driver shares a gesture I don't appreciate in an attempt to let me know what he's thinking even though I can't hear him, it's easier to complain than to think, "Well, perhaps he's late for an appointment."
I've even noticed that complaining seems to come naturally. Interacting with people, I discover more frowns than smiles, more gossip than encouragement, and more complaints than optimistic remarks. Listening to local and world news doesn't help either. It seems consumed by complaints about racial prejudice, social injustice, world conflict, and politicians who haven't fulfilled campaign promises. We even complain about complaining.
Complaining is contagious. An otherwise happy and optimistic group can be infected by one person who feels that life has soured on them. What began as a festive occasion can be transformed into a negative session about the unfairness of life.
The Lord's people are not exempt from catching the complaining spirit. Moses had the opportunity to lead God's people from slavery to their promised land. What began as an encouraging situation soon succumbed to a complaining spirit. Instead of ecstasy over their deliverance, the people whined because God was giving them only manna to eat.
Yet the apostle Paul shows us the better way:
Philippians 4:11-12 – I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (NIV)
1 Timothy 6:6 – But godliness with contentment is great gain. (NIV)
Prayer: Father, help us to trust You in all situations while remembering that You are in control. Whether or not we understand the why of our circumstances, help us to believe You will work it all together for our good. Amen.