"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mercy from a Rock

I really detest complaining. When I hear murmuring, whining or complaining it feels like nails on a chalk board to me. I remember praying daily for my daughter when she was 3 years old. She whined badly. And, I remember asking God to help her stop. I knew it would make me crazy if I had to listen to that sound!!

It is a pet-peeve... complaining.

And yet, it is amazing how easily I tolerate or put-up-with my own complaints. My own complaining heart doesn't seem to bother me to the same degree. It hardly bothers me at all.

I am pretty sure that I am okay with my own whining voice because somehow I feel justified. If I am complaining or murmuring, I feel "right" to do so. The complaint is obviously valid and therefore deserves complaining. Most of the time, I think, my mind is clouded by my complaint-inducing circumstance. It doesn't feel like complaining. It feels like I am just stating things, or seeing things, "as they are". That is not complaining, right?

When I hear other's complaints, I can see more clearly the broad truths around them. Even when a complaint is "justified" it is never alone--- without other truths that surround it and shine light on it. When it is someone else, I can more easily see God's blessing and His provisions... and it bugs me that they can't see it. I don't have much mercy-flowing as I hear the complaints around me.

Reading this morning, I was struck with God's faithful mercy. The Israelites are complaining and grumbling. They are causing havoc and chaos for their leader, Moses. It says they are quarreling with Moses. And, truly, their complaint is justified. They are thirsty. This is pretty good reason to be upset. But, their response is to mummer and argue. (Exodus 17)

Even so, God in His amazing grace and mercy gives them what they need with no punishment or rebuke. Such mercy!

I can't help but wonder if He would much rather have had them ask with faith and trust. Wouldn't it have brought joy to His heart if they had simply "prayed about everything" and "didn't worry about what they ate or drank", but "trusted in the Lord with all their hearts"?

Trust. Trust facilitates asking without complaining.

We have a saying in our family life, (we use it with our kids as well as with each other), "Telling me once is information, twice is complaining".

When my kids can trust that I heard them tell me they are hungry or have a headache, (For, of course, I want them to tell me that! I want that information), they don't feel the need to tell me 10 more times. If they trust I am listening and will respond, they don't need to whine or complain. When I am faithful to give them exactly what they need and to lovingly respond to their information, then they don't need to murmur or argue.

Do I trust Father God like this? Do I trust Him enough to sit and ask and then release it into His hands. Doesn't my complaining words, verbal or non-verbal, show that I am not entrusting the need to Father. Doesn't my murmuring testify that my trust in Him is faulty?

And, still. ...still He gives them water from a rock. This is the mercy of God.

I ask. And, still I complain. And, how many times has He even still answered and given me water from a rock!! Mercy.

...but, I think He is inviting me to so much more! ... Asking and trusting. Trusting and releasing. Resting and not complaining.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing" Phil. 2:14
Father, continue to build my trust and my faith. May I know You, Your sweet provision and love! May I learn to ask and to release to you all things. May I do all things without complaining or arguing.
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