complaining

Listen Without Complaining

It appears that hardwired in every child is an ability to never quite hear what their parents say.  It is almost as if everything that is said to a child must be immediately met with “what?” even if they physically heard what you said.  The struggle to communicate to them and see results is quite intense.

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I am sorry, are you talking? 

I have lamented this many times to people and never really thought it applied to me anymore.  Certainly I have grown up, right?  Then I read Numbers 14.  In Numbers 14 Moses is leading the Israelites along after freeing them from Egyptian slavery.  One might think that they would be willing to listen well to God because He has powerfully showed up. He rescued them.

Instead they complain.  They grumble against God.  They wish they were back in Egypt.  They even decide to vote in a leader to take them back!  Basically they look at God and say “yes, I know you are demonstrating your love for us, but I don’t really think you love us.”  They are in one sense hearing and seeing God act out a radical love for them and in the very next breath complaining that they aren’t slaves anymore.

I have been guilty of this.  I have had times when things just weren’t going my way, and even though I saw God minister to me in His grace during those times, I still complained about it.   I still questioned God there.  I guess adults are just older kids.

When Jesus hung on the cross, people around him mocked him and even cast lots for his clothing. In a most dramatic fashion, they did not hear what was being said.   Even though He had shown the kingdom of God to them in the flesh, they just did not listen.  They would rather do things their own way and in doing rejected the only means of freedom.

The challenge is this:  Do not get so caught up in religious tradition that you miss the message of Christ to you.   I pray that as we enter into this coming season leading up to Easter Sunday that we would hear loud and clear the voice of God “I love you.”

 

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What ever happened to thank you?

From NSTAR's Facebook page

From NSTAR’s Facebook page

In preparation for the snow storm we were expected to get, we fully anticipated we would lose power.  In fact, given the amount of wind and wet snow expected, I would have been shocked if we did not lose power.  All night long, and through much of the day, the wind roared with enough force that it broke things off our house.  Finally, early Saturday morning the power went off.  Yes, our house got very cold, as did many.  But we were inside and sheltered from the storm.  Yes, I was frustrated with the amount of time the power was off, but I was able to stay warm by a wood stove.  It is difficult to lose power when we rely on it for so much.

In the aftermath of this storm, the power company was out there in force working to restore power.  They were assessing damage while we were all inside.  There were a lot of power lines down and that is only part of the issue.  There is wind and snow.  There are obstacles.  Our response to them should be “thank you for your hard work.”  Yet, if you look at social media right now you see a lot of complaining.

I understand the complaints.  We went for nearly 5 days without power after Tropical Storm Irene.  It was hard to live that way with our children, but it was summer and we managed.  I know winter brings with it cold weather and can be dangerous.   Our house was 39 degrees at one point this weekend. However, don’t you think that the utility companies are aware of that?  I don’t understand the raking over the coals that so many people are doing.

There are many things we take for granted.  Everyday I turn on the light and make my coffee without much thought.  Then one day it is off because of something that no one could have avoided and we berate the utilities.  What happened to our manners?   What happened to our willingness to thank people for working in harsh conditions in order to bring power back to communities?  Yes, it is their job.  But they do still deserve at least some appreciation in the midst of all the complaints.

After our church burned down we took plates of cookies to the local departments as a thank you.  (story) There were 7 different departments involved at that fire.  We took them a card and some cookies.  They were shocked by our gesture.  One of them even said they should be giving us something.  Some wondered why we would do that since it was their job to respond to the fire.  The reason is simple — people are more than their job title.  People care for each other and show concern when something happens in the community.  People look out for their neighbors and appreciate the hard work of community members to fix important parts of our lives.  We should not take that for granted.

gnomeFor those still without power, I hope it comes back quickly.  For those of us with power restored,  we really need to consider who we know who might be in the dark still.  Rather than complain, let’s help each other.  Thank you!