March 13, 2020
From Grumbling to Gratitude
“The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11(NRSV)
I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of girl.
But on that particular morning I was in a funk. The 5 a.m. wake-up call from the alarm on my phone seemed even more shrill than usual, sending the low-grade headache I’d been nursing for the last couple of days into full-on migraine status. I pulled back the shower curtain and noticed the beginnings of mildew creeping into the grout of the tub.
Well, add cleaning the bathroom to that ever-growing list of things to do.
I grumpily made my way to the kitchen to brew a much-needed cup of coffee and pack the kids’ lunches for school, but the coffee maker was kaput, and the kids had wiped out every last potato chip from the cabinet in a snacking frenzy the day before. I took a deep breath as I headed back to the bedrooms, saying a quick, silent prayer that everyone else would wake up on the right side of the bed.
In the grand scheme of things, that morning wasn’t horrible. Nothing major was going wrong, but nothing was going particularly right, either, and I was not feeling anything like my normally positive self.
Sometimes those not-quite-right days can be even trickier than times of full-on crisis because we are not technically supposed to be grumbling or complaining over such trivial things. Let’s face it, no one is sending flowers or handing out casseroles to comfort you, just because you had to pack lunches and scrub the bathtub.
I feel the old familiar sting of conviction in Philippians 2:14-15 when we’re told to “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” (NIV)
God has blessed me abundantly. I’m certain it’s frustrating to Him when I complain, just like it’s frustrating to me when my kids complain.
Misery loves company. And if I had grumbled my way back to the bedrooms that morning to wake my kids, I venture to say that the rest of my tribe would have picked up on my ode to Eeyore and joined in with me. But I decided that morning to rise above the annoyances. I’d much rather “shine like stars in the sky” than gather others to stand under my own personal cloud.
Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.”
Restoration in parched places?
If I’m feeling parched, I can imagine that my kids, my family, my friends and my co-workers might be, too. But rather than fostering a dreary drought, I can consciously choose to lift others by rising above my own trivial complaints.
What wonderful news that the Lord is with us during days of crisis as well as the mediocre days filled with mundane tasks, migraines and a little mildew. Remembering this grace in our weakness easily becomes a shining moment for God’s heavenly strength.
God never promised us smooth sailing, but He does promise that He will be right there beside us, restoring us and urging us onward. He is there to fill us up so we can continue to fill others.
Dear heavenly father, please help me to accept both life’s little challenges and Your restoring help with grace and gratitude. Help me remember that no problem is too large or too small for me to call out to You. Please help me remember that a heart can be filled in with joy every day, not just the easy days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 1:6-7, “In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith — being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NRSV)
James 1: 2-4, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (NRSV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Does the difficulty (or ease) of your life determine your joy? What are some ways you can practice being joy-filled even when circumstances are tough?
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