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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Totally Okay to Complain!

'Come near to God. He's heard your complaints.'
(Exodus 16:9 The Message)

Yesterday, we began to look at the fact that we can turn our complaints from a negative thing into a positive thing - simply by choosing how we choose to use the opportunity of complaining to examine our motivation.  Today, I'd like us to continue in that thought and expand upon it a little.  The people of Israel have been complaining because they are just about out of food - they are hungry!  Truth be told, I complain a little more when I am hungry, too!  There are two lessons I'd like us to see today from this passage.  First, WHO we take our complaints to really does matter.  Second, hunger is a strong motivator.

Moses is faithful to take the concerns of the people to God.  He makes a beeline to the one and only one that he knows will be able to handle the complaint of the people.  Israel has just began to experience the tremendous power of their God (having seen the plagues of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea).  Now, they will see yet another miracle that will sustain them through their nearly 40 years of wandering through the wilderness.

As he takes their complaints to Lord of Lords, he finds that there is indeed an answer forthcoming.  It would not be something they had seen before.  Their experience would be altered by what God would do for them in providing for their need for food.  Here's the crux of what we usually discover when we take our complaints to God:  Yesterday's known solutions are seldom today's needed solutions.  

We often go about life expecting that what we counted on yesterday will be the exact thing that will bring us through today's fresh challenges.  The fact is, the solution of yesterday MAY work "okay", but it may not be the answer that we need in the here and now!  God has new solutions in mind for his children - when we bring our needs afresh to him, he is able to point out his plans for us that we'd never have considered by relaying on the past solutions.

The second thing is the value of hunger.  Hunger is a strong motivating factor for seeking a new answer from God.  When our hunger is significant enough to look outside of the known solution to a problem, we are open to seeing the greatness of our God on our behalf.  Today's problem is rarely the same as yesterday's - there is usually a different "twist" to it that we may not see apart from the revealing power of God.  Sometimes we are ineffective in overcoming the challenges of today because we don't ask God to show us the way.

Who listens to your complaints?  Is it the right one for the solution that is needed?  There is value in recognizing that our complaints find their greatest opportunity for solution when we bring them to the one who is best equipped to deal with the need behind the complaint!  Let your hunger drive you to find God's newness - don't rely on the old crusts of bread from yesterday when you have the freshness of Manna from Heaven for today!