Today is what might be described as a dismal day. It has rained off and on all weekend, mostly at the most inopportune times. The temperature is supposed to reach the upper sixties, but I doubt if does. Tom doesn't feel too perky, the skies look gloomy and we're staying home this afternoon. We'll settle in by the gas logs and watch a little more basketball. I did go teach a Sunday School class this morning, but didn't stay for worship. On the way home I reflected on a brief conversation I had with someone and the weather.
We are such strange people--sometimes fickle, sometimes ungrateful. I am. Across the South we have been experiencing a drought, some areas worse than others. West Tennessee has not suffered as much as the Raleigh or Atlanta areas, but it has been extremely dry here. So dry, in fact, that butterbeans were scarce as hens' teeth at the farmers' market. We have needed rain! We have prayed for rain and now that we are getting it in abundance, we complain. It's as if we are saying: "Lord, please send rain, but send it when it's most convenient for us."
We ask God to show us what He wants us to do, to send us where we are to go. With much conviction, we profess to only want to be obedient to God's call. "Here I am, Lord. Send me." Then God does just that. We are sent, we accept a responsibility and sometimes become discouraged because things are hard or unpleasant. I know. This has been my story more than once. I prayed for direction, telling God that I would be obedient and I was led across the country, away from family, friends, out of my comfort zone. At first, I reminded God how obedient and open I had been to His call and suggested that I might be rewarded by a new call--one that would return us to family, friends and the familiar. When my immaturity and ungratefulness hit me, my prayers changed. The obedience brought more blessings than I could ever count. But, just when I was settled into the call, loving every minute of it and all the people involved, a new call came. It was a call into the unknown--no job, no visible ministry, no regular teaching or preaching, no visiting the sick, no hours of pastoral care. It has taken a while to quit questioning and to completely accept the ministry of "in sickness and in health" and being an up close and personal grandparent. These two experiences have affirmed a few things I've heard from those far wiser and far more experienced than I will ever be. 1) Don't ask God for something if you don't want an answer. 2) Know that the answer may not be what you want to hear. 3) Don't expect that being obedient produces hardships, but be prepared when it does. 4) Remember that God is a gracious God who "goes before you in triumphant procession." 5) Quit complaining to others and let God be in charge of your life and your situation.
When I complain, I'm denying the sovereignty of God in my life and in the world. I am implying that I know best and I know that's not so. My prayer is that God will teach me to replace my complaints with words of thanksgiving and praise.