We all know that when I decided to post on the 10th and 25th of every month, it was partially so I could write blogs on my birthday and Christmas!
Jokes on me though, because I am not actually writing this on the day it is posting. At the time this is being written I am not yet twenty-two (ooh ooh), it is actually June 4th. This birthday of mine, July 10th, I am working at summer camp and am likely kayaking, or building a camp fire, or making friendship bracelets with awesome kids or something cool like that. Today just picture me doing awesome outdoor adventure hanging out with friends things, not sitting at a computer somewhere. What I would like to share with you on today, my birthday, is a little reflection/story about complaining and how I can’t keep my mouth shut.
One June 3rd, 2017 (yesterday for me, over a month ago for you), I was going to visit Autumn who was house-sitting for her sister who lives in the middle of nowhere. I left in kind of a hurry, because Autumn had just called and told her she needed my help because her sister’s chickens got out of the coop! As I’m always down for chicken chasing, I got into my car as fast as I could.
Now there are multiple ways to Autumn’s sister’s house that is in the middle of nowhere. There’s the quick/short way that takes you down a terrible bumpy dirt road, and there’s the long way that doesn’t cause you to get your shock absorbs replaced. I drive a little Ford Fiesta; I always opt the long way.
But I have a bad memory. And I still don’t remember how to get there. So I tried using the GPS that night, but it wanted to take me down the dirt road, and I thought I outsmarted it to take me the other way, but it ended up taking me on the dirt road, and it was so bumpy! And driving first in circles and then really slowly made it take quite a long time to get to Autumn’s sisters house. And I felt bad. And I felt grumpy. And I wanted to get there, open the car door, and COMPLAIN and GRIPE about how terrible the drive was and how stupid GPS’s are, because GOSH DARN IT the world owes me smooth rides and easy times, and I wanted to excuse myself for how late I was.
But that’s not the way to act, I reminded myself. Watch your tongue and act graciously, I preached to myself. The only reason you want to complain is to justify yourself and make yourself feel better; If she asks you why you’re late, just honestly respond and say you got a little lost and had to take the dirt road.
Nice Ruth. Wise.
I get to the house. I step out of the car.
Autumn walks up to me.
“You missed it, I just finished rounding up the chickens.”
“WELL I HAVE TO SAY, AUTUMN! I LOVE YOU, AND I LOVE IT HERE AT YOUR SISTERS HOUSE, BUT I HATE DRIVING HERE!!! THAT DIRT ROAD IS TERRIBLE AND MY GPS IS TERRIBLE AND IT MADE ME TAKE THE DIRT ROAD AND BLAH BLAH BLAH…” I word vomited.
Someone (me) could use an extra dose of self control… Anyways, my word vomit did not make me feel justified or better, in fact it made me a little disgusted with myself. It’s a small example, but still.
Fast forward to the next day, this morning (June 4th, but you’re July 10th, remember?), I’m doing my daily devotion. It’s Exodus 15-16. God just delivered the Israelites from Egypt, he performed miracles and plagues to display his glory, when Pharoah’s gigantic army pursued them, he parted the Red Sea so they could cross and then crushed Pharoah’s army behind them. WOW! Now they’re in the desert, and they’re grumbling and complaining saying they wish they were back in Egypt as slaves, because they’re hungry and they don’t think the God who delivered them from slavery and performed all of those miracles will feed their stomachs. It’s hard not to throw your hands up and say “For real, don’t you know what God just did for you?”, but I can’t really judge the Israelites there because if I think about it, I do the same thing all the time.
When hard things come about, you have two options: trust God, or complain. Honestly, I choose option 2 a lot of times. BUT GOD HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR ME AND IS SOVEREIGN OVER EVERYTHING AND IS WORKING OUT EVERYTHING FOR HIS OWN GLORY AND MY OWN GOOD. Yes, but I have to drive on bumpy roads sometimes in my adorable car to see good friends and have wonderful community. How horrible.
God had mercy on their complaining behinds and loved them and gave them manna and quail and water by the way, just like he has mercy on me everyday 🙂 . You should go read Exodus 15-16, I’m for real butchering the telling of it.
All this to say, God is good. And He’s got this. And He loves you. So let’s live every day grateful to Him and trust Him when things seem to be going wrong. You could be a person going through something seriously difficult, and hearing these things coming from a girl who’s biggest problem is a bumpy dirt road is probably not very convincing – but believe me when I say you can cast all your cares on him.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:26-30