“All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert!’”
A dragon’s egg hatched in my heart. I was unaware of this, as the egg was hidden under the bush of busyness, the one with the broad leaves of distraction. Even after the event, not much grabbed my attention, for newly hatched dragons are small, unable to do much. I think it spent much of its time munching on the plants of discontent and selfishness.
However, as time went on and the little dragon grew, it began to dig around and do some damage in my heart and in my life. Things began “innocently” with my becoming more and more intent on seeing justice done both for me and in the world around me. The biased, negative reports in the news were more irritating; everyday difficulties in life bothered me more; problems with the banking system I used brought out more and more negative thoughts and words. I was becoming a whiner!
Finally, Someone pulled back the leaves and revealed the dragon there among the bushes of my heart and I saw its name written between its’ eyes: “Grumbling.” This is a destructive dragon, a serious sin, one that angered God in the lives of the Israelites and led them into deep trouble. In fact, it is the significant second step away from God in the downward spiral of sin described in Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…” I was grumbling instead of giving thanks.
Fortunately, this dragon was still small and I was able to seize it by the neck, bring it, scratching and biting before the Lord and with the knife of confession dispatch it on the altar of Truth and surrender.
This was followed by a willful commitment to think in faith and to act in praise, thereby repairing the damage done to my heart by the habit of grumbling.
Every time thoughts of the many unjust, distressing and evil things happening out there in the world came to mind, I now chose to remember that our Loving God is at work. I choose to be a worshiper. He is using the evil of man and Satan to advance the cause of His Kingdom, to prepare hearts to believe, to strengthen and mature believers. We can trust Him in this turmoil and replace grumbling with grace, leading to praise and prayer.
I am not talking about “Pollyanna” type of thinking here, but about using faith to see the larger picture and joining God in His plan through intercession. This is expressed in the Ephesians 3 prayer of Paul: “I pray that out of his glorious riches God will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” This refers to God empowering our faith, so we go from being people of feeble faith to people of full faith.
Grumbling certainly works against this, keeping us focused on the temporal and visible. Faith, in contrast, focuses on the eternal, on the invisible and powerful Truths that set us free, such as knowing that God works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28) and that when we seem the weakest, then we are actually the strongest (2Cor. 12:9-10). This is where I want to go and live for the rest of my life!
Prayer: “Lord, help me to listen to myself talk and be aware of what predominates: grumbling and complaining or praise and thanksgiving. Help me to daily slay the dragon of grumbling with confession and repentance. Help me to reject being a whiner and to instead be a worshiper. Help me to walk in the light of Truth and Freedom, to live in the Joy and Faith you have given us, so I might be more and more useful to you. Amen.”