Complaining in the wilderness

Shalom, dear children!

by Lilian van der Wel
The children of Israel are having a hard time in the desert. And they show it by complaining again and again. Why do they complain? Is that good or wrong? Are they right or not, complaining all the time?By complaining you can give your opinion about something that is not nice. People often do it when they are not able to change the difficult situation they are in. By complaining together, people do not feel so alone. En when you complain very often, you are going to believe more and more that your complaint makes sense, whether you are right or not. It will grow and take a bigger space in your life. Without noticing, you start to look for things that fit together with the complaint. And in that way it gets even worse. If there is a complaint there has to be done something. We see that also in the wilderness among the children of Israel. For the complaining makes you feel insecure.

The people want to go back. In Egypt they had been happy, they think. There they had a lot of good things like delicious food. While they are complaing, they paint the situation in Egypt more beautiful than it really was.  And life in the desert  was actually not that great! The people say to Moses: “Why have you taken us out of Egypt? To die in the wilderness?”(Numbers 20:3) And that was not the first time they complained. The people are longing for figs and grapes and pomegranates. And above all: water! Their complaint is heard: they get water from the rock. The place where all of this happens is called: “Meriva”, which means: quarrel. For it happened with a lot of quarreling.

Moses and Aaron are then told that they will not enter the Land. G’d had given instruction to speak to the rock and there would come water out of it. Moses did not do that. Instead, he hit the rock with his staff.  With their complaining, the people had driven him to the limit. Moses has become angry. Should Moses have stayed calm? Should he have trusted in G’d more?

And the people? Should they have trusted more in G’d and in Moses their leader? If you are sure that everything is going to be all right and that in hard times G’d will not leave you alone, it may be easier to compain less. For although it may sound funny, suffering also makes a human being wise.  Out of suffering can come good things. Important to remember is that G’d will carry you and will be always with you!

Verse to remember: “You do not have to endure trials that you cannot bear. G’d is trustworthy and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. He will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13).