And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. — 1 Corinthians 10:10-11(NLT)
There was a time when I firmly believed in fully expressing myself. Self expression included venting, grumbling and complaining. I would complain and grumble over the little inconveniences and especially when things didn’t turn out the way I wanted to. Grumbling and venting my frustration became second nature and took its toll on my character and spiritual life: there was little or no joy in my heart, I was always frustrated and I found it difficult to be grateful. My temper’s fuse got shorter by the week.
But the Lord, ever forgiving, brought me to Exodus, Deuteronomy and Numbers. At first I was confused and indignant at how a chosen people who were experiencing God’s deliverance and daily miracles would have the audacity to rebel and grumble. Then it hit me. I was rebellious, audacious, ungrateful as they were and even more proud than they!
If I could wash my mouth with disinfectant, I would have done it. How utterly ignorant and foolish of me to think that grumbling was a way of ‘freely expressing myself’. To say that I got scared of what I read in the Old Testament is putting it mildly. I became so conscious that when a negative thought popped-up, I would literally press my lips together to stop myself from grumbling. I imagined my loving Lord raising His finger at me with wide eyes — much like a concerned parent does to a child about to err. It sounds juvenile, but the imagery helped.
With my mentor’s guidance, I committed to learn to be thankful in everything, to acknowledge God’s hand in all facets of everyday living. I became accountable to a dear sister in the faith whose joy was infectious. I learned to praise the Lord first thing when I wake up and before I retire to bed at night. And in between, I exercised being in the presence of our Holy God.
These days, my lips are busy giving praise to the Lord. My soul delights in being in His company. I do not have to look far for things to give Him thanks for, for the days are full of His wondrous miracles and blessings. And even if things do not go my way and plans end up in a heap of knots, I still have much to thank my Father for.