I was reminded the other day during a discussion about the well-known grumbling and wandering Israelites, that our grumbling translates to mere rebellion.
I don't think I've ever really thought about it that way, but it makes great sense now. I couldn't help but think about my grumbling kids, often complaining about not getting their way. So it makes sense to me now that they are not just complaining because the circumstances are making them feel uncomfortable at the time, but because they are displaying their own rebellious nature that does not want to conform to the guidelines set up for them. Sound familiar? Too familiar, if you ask me. I am that grumbling child. I too have the tendency to rebel.
What's interesting is that we look for ways to justify our grumbling. We rationalize the complaining by explaining that we "just don't feel good about it" or are somewhat uncomfortable with it, and I cannot do this or that Lord because "I'm just not 'feeling it'". And so I make my way out of obedience and slouch right into my comfortable estate which is found in my rebellion. It'll hurt God! I say, You don't want me to hurt, do you? Or it will cost me too much... too much of my little time, and too much of my hard earned money, and too much of my self-disciplined patience. And I know you don't want me to run out of patience! It's clear then, that what you're asking of me is just too much. And so we have these types of dialogues with God, the one who governs over all. And we expect that God will obviously understand, if He's at all reasonable or logical. If being the key word.
You see, the one who created our human estate by simply blowing a breath and mixing it with dust, the one who calmed the roaring seas and brought people back to life; in essence, the one who has defied all forces of nature to make them succumb to Himself, making all things seem somewhat illogical and/or unreasonable, He is the same God who is longing for our commitment. Free of the grumbling. He longs for us to desire to know Him more and more and want to obey Him just because we love Him, and not out of mere duty. That we'd draw closer to Him in search of His perfect will for our lives, wanting to please Him with the breath of life He granted us. That we'd obey Him because we trust Him enough and know that He knows what is truly best for us. So much so that we'd no longer grumble. We'd no longer complain.
Although He can empathize with our refrain, He wants us to turn from our rebellion and accept fully whatever He'd want for and from us. That we would just step toward Him, even when it doesn't feel good, even when we can't understand things. We'd trust Him enough to obey Him and we wouldn't hold anything back from Him. This is the perfect estate as a human being in relation to God our maker.
And yet, we find a way to see it fit for us to grumble. What is it about us that makes us prone to it? Where is the root of our rebellion? Whether or not we find its origin, it doesn't change the character of God. We might be undeserving, but He pours out mercy. We may not always be trusting, but He provides. We may hold back and dig our feet deep to keep from following His lead, but He continues to shine His light on our walk. He is not pleased with our rebellion; but nevertheless, He remains committed to His will and plan for our lives.
So whenever you feel like you have every right to complain about the mundane you face today or about where God is clearly leading you, realize that you are on the brink of rebellion toward the God who granted you this day. Turn it around! Turn it around with praise to a Father God who has not only hand-picked the kind of sunrise and sunset you will have, but has loved you enough to let you experience it. Turn it around with submission to the One who gave it all for you.
The Root of Our Rebellion
Tell me Lord, what is the root of our rebellion?
Tell me now, that I may go deep and uproot it
For it serves no good purpose
And it proves to be deceiving
Its force is like weeds tormenting the beautiful terrain
And though the surface is fine, deep down it's causing pain
It appears to show loyalty
Defending our cause
Protecting our rights
But only to mislead us when we think we are doing right
We want to obey you
We want to show we care
Still there's something between us
Somethin's not clear
So tell me Lord, where can I find it?
That I may use all forces to bind it
For its burn has left its mark
And it will be long before we're mended
What must I do? Where must I go?
May my response be so....
I hear you Lord
And I'm willing now
I feel you nearer
To your call I vow
I feel freer Lord
I'm on higher ground
The root has been shaken
I'm no longer bound