by Christopher Harbin

Overcoming Complaint
Christopher B. Harbin
Exodus 16:2-12; Ps 105:1-3,37-45; Mt 20:1-16; Phil 1:21-30

We like to complain. We especially like to complain in order to make the problems of life some nebulous other's fault. Too hot, too cold, too fast, too slow, too expensive, too cheap. I'm not being treated right. Life is not fair. Did you hear what they said to me? I can't believe how I was treated! Complaining is basic to human nature, but it is also a product of faith in crisis. We are most wont to complain when we feel most insecure, when we do not trust that our needs will be met. Can faith really help us overcome our drive to complain?

How quickly we forget. How quickly we move on from security to insecurity, from confidence to worry. How easily we equate God's available means to provide for us to the limited scope of what we can see, predict, and recognize. How quickly we limit God to the range of our own possibilities.

When the Hebrews were in Egypt, life was tough. They cried out to God for deliverance. They cried for help and release. We don't read of any complaining, grumbling, or griping. We read that Yahweh heard their cries and did something about them, sending Moses as the messenger for their deliverance. God intervened in their lives to bring them to a new level of faith.

Maybe that's where things went wrong. It seems that as soon as God began doing something about helping them they started to complain. They didn't want to be slaves in Egypt, but at least they lived in a predictable way. They knew what to expect. They didn't like it, but they felt somehow secure in the midst of their oppression. They were comfortable with their lives under oppression. When God began to change their circumstances, they became more and more uncomfortable. The complaining started in earnest.

"Moses, you are making things worse, not better!" "It's your fault that we now have to go collect our own straw!" "Look at this, now we ha ...

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