Here We Go Again

10 10 2013

“Life seems pointless. I keep running into the same problems everywhere I go, and I’m tired of going nowhere.”

I’ve said these words, have you?

We could learn much from the Israelites in the wilderness concerning this. In fact, I can identify three things that kept them going in circles out in the middle of nowhere: A lack of faith, negativity, and complaining.

In their case, the lack of faith was simply a failure to factor in God’s ability to provide for and protect them.

They hadn’t been asked to hang their faith on thin air…they’d seen God do some very remarkable things: all that stuff in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the death of Pharaoh’s army, etc.

But they didn’t connect the “God who did…” to the “God who can…”.

The “God who will…”.

As a result, every new obstacle was met with negativity. “Oh great! There’s nothing to drink, nothing to eat. How are we supposed to…?”

Which, in turn, led to complaining. “Oh that we were still in Egypt. At least there we had leeks and garlic to eat.” (Yum) “How come Moses gets to call all the shots? Who does he think he is, anyway?” “Goodie. God gave us a land that is overrun with giants. We’re toast.”

In the end, they got what they wanted…manna for forty years, and they never had to enter the Promised Land, never had to fight for their land. God continued to provide for them, to lead them, and protect them, but that’s all they had at the end of their lives.

Their story is in the Bible for our learning. Says so in Romans 15:4. The purpose? To give us hope!

If we do what they did, we can expect the same results. If we choose to do things differently, we can expect a different outcome.

I’d rather not spend my life going ’round in circles…know what I mean?

First of all, we must spend time reflecting and remembering the things God has done in, through, and for us. It is in the retelling of these things that our faith is strengthened.

I’ve experienced God as provider, healer, defender, etc.

The economy looks shaky…that’s okay. I know that God can provide what I need – I remember when He…

I have some health issues…and no insurance. In the past, God either provided the medication needed – and supernaturally healed me more than once. Even if He chooses not to restore my earthly tent, I’m good with that. The ultimate healing is when I leave this “tent” and get my permanent “mansion” when this mortality is swallowed up by life! (2 Corinthians 5:4)

Remembering what He has done reminds me that He is able. His arm is not so short that He cannot save.

Without faith, everything looks hopeless. This moves us to a place of negativity:

“This is never going to change.” “I can’t possibly get through this,” “even God can’t fix this,” and similar thoughts.

Our imagination begins to take over, and the “worst-case scenario” begins to overrun our mind.

(Never forget that the battlefield is between your ears!)

Leave these thoughts unchecked, and it’s all downhill from here, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…

…let the complaining begin.

Complaints are the result of a mind full of negative thoughts which leak out of our mouths and drip onto those around us. Grumbling and griping are, like the cold virus, highly contagious.

We can see this in action just through the blogs we read on a daily basis. Read one where the author is complaining about something…then check the comments to see how many chimed in, adding fuel to the fire.

Get a group of same-sex people together and if one person tosses out a complaint about their spouse, watch how quickly the others begin to do the same.

Further, by complaining, we feel no responsibility in the matter – and therefore exonerated of “being the change” that is needed. After all, it’s not my fault.

The more we complain, the less we remember what God has done in the past. He becomes impotent in our minds.

Therefore, when new issues crop up, we believe the situation to be hopeless.

Because we have a “powerless god” who can do nothing to change our circumstances we voice our complaints to anyone who will listen…often stirring up discontent in them as well.

Thus:

A lack of faith leads to negativity, which becomes complaining…

…leading to less faith in God’s ability, more negativity, and more complaining.

Round and round we go, like a hamster on an exercise wheel; we run like crazy, go nowhere fast, and dare not rest – lest we get flung off. 🙂

There’s A Better Way. Let’s chat tomorrow!

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17 responses

11 10 2013
Let’s Try Something Different | Lessons by Heart

[…] Read the beginning of this series: Here We Go Again […]

10 10 2013
nopew

What I can’t figure is the Hebrews complained about things God already planned to give them, and then they complained when God gave it to them (like quail, like land, like leadership, like Moses taking too long to talk with God on the mountaintop…). Not much wonder that God got mad at them once in awhile. Yet the Exodus becomes the defining story of the faith history of God’s people: no matter what the problem God met it – no matter how God met it people saw a problem.
I’m glad I’m not like that – well at least that is true when I’m asleep! Problem is, I wake up…
Peace

11 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Love your comments! 🙂

\o/

10 10 2013
StephenWhoElse

So true Tami.

Most of us draw a personal picture of God according to our past experiences. To one, He may be a God who provides for our need miraculously
To another, He may be a God who heals miraculously
To yet another, He may be a God who watches over us all the time because He saved us from a terrible accident

The point is, these people have a narrow view of God – limited by what He has done in the past, so that when a new situation arises for which there was no precedent, they freak out and start to doubt.

It’s great that you can say “I’ve experienced God as provider, healer, defender, etc.” because then you’ve experienced God in depth and in fullness! (Not that I want to go through the situations that led to your experiences!!)

Ok, I’m rambling .. let me just say that we need to look beyond His miracles, and look at His character instead. WHY He did something, instead of WHAT He did. Then our faith will be based on something far deeper and substantial.

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Mmm. Well said.

Unfortunately for me, what I’d been taught about God’s character was so far from the truth. I learned (through my church) that He was more like a harsh task master who must be placated at all cost. To go against Him was to call down His wrath and all sorts of trouble on me. He was freaking scary!

It was this understanding of Him that caused me to walk away. I was tired of trying to please the “unpleasable.”

In His great mercy, God showed the error of my beliefs to me through the “whats.” Blessed beyond measure, I began to search out the “why.” And discovered the most loving Father ever!

You’re right though. Had I stayed in the place of merely looking for His “what,” I would have become a severely “handicapped” child…possibly a spoiled brat who demanded more.

I love all these comments – they’re helping me to formulate a far more balanced post for tomorrow than I would have come up with on my own…thanks! I couldn’t do it without your input. 🙂

\o/

10 10 2013
heavenlyraindrops

Nice post, Tami. I like how you said,
“Complaints are the result of a mind full of negative thoughts which leak out of our mouths and drip onto those around us.” That is a great analogy and one I hope will pop into my mind as a reminder when tempted to complain. Thanks!

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Whoa…kind of missed that statement. Isn’t it interesting what flows from our fingertips? That’s a really graphic image! Thanks for pointing it out!

\o/

10 10 2013
heavenlyraindrops

🙂

11 10 2013
PaperGiftsForEstefany

🙂

10 10 2013
Marijo Phelps

Raise our hands and arms in praise and surrender! Jesus is able!!!

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

And then some. 😉

\o/

10 10 2013
Kathleen

Our hearts were led to the same place: ( today’s post at coming2him.wordpress.com) satan and his nasty attacks getting us all wrapped up in fear and deception. You took it further as we as a community feed into the fire of those flaming arrows. Praising our God who equips us, protects us and gives us joy with you!

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Amen! He is worthy of all our praise. 🙂

\o/

10 10 2013
Pure Glory

Complaining is contagious and spreads like wildfire. It is so destructive because it is negative faith and disregards who God is and his love and care for us.

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

I agree.

\o/

10 10 2013
vonhonnauldt

I’m not so sure that we fail at making the connection between the God who did, and the God who can, so much as we don’t make the connection to the God who will. Though we often fail at the other, as well.

10 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

Hmmm. Good point. 🙂

\o/

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