Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Selective Memory of Discontentment...

 As we look at giving thanks this month, I read my friend's Facebook posts and am encouraged. While we are reminded to do this in November, do you get a sense that most people are not grateful and for all intents and purposes are really discontented? Why does it seem that contentment and peace are always just out of our reach? Are you bored or complacent about God’s provision? Have you finally become content with His will, surrendered to daily living in His provision, then, out of nowhere, this little nagging voice, that nobody admits to, says “is this all there is? What happened to the good old days?
The world screams at us from over the fence that we really deserve a better more expensive car, clothes that will magically make us riveting and accepted by all, homes with bigger and bigger mortgages or a more Twitter-worthy social life. Every ‘un-reality’ show seems to tell us that our lives pale in comparison to the ‘real lives’ of housewives in other places more exciting and fashionable than where we live.  For some of us, it's “churchy” stuff. We want the position that really gets us noticed. We want the ministry which will impress those in leadership.  We begin to think that life is more than this, we're special and deserve more.  Oh, you won’t hear anyone raise her hand in Bible study and admit it.  They’ll secretly wonder if they’re alone in their thoughts. Funny thing about this type of thought pattern, the more we entertain it, the more we will buy into the lie.  That’s right, it is a lie!  Just like the very first lie, it’s simply a roundabout way of questioning God Himself. 
  In the book of Exodus, Israel had been led out of captivity (I can relate) by miraculous wonders and perfectly-timed provision by God. Their short-term memory was apparently based on convenience, because soon after God’s glorious character is revealed, they start complaining with a very selective memory.  They had been enslaved in Egypt and crying out for freedom for 430 years. After some pretty incredible miracles, they come to the Red Sea and in unison pronounce, 
              “ Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? 
 
 We can look at that story and shake our heads at those silly ‘Bible people’, but here’s a clue, we are just the same! Some would argue with me that if God were to do miracles and wonders for them, they would be awestruck for life! Riiiighhht.  How many of us has God delivered from the captivity of deep and rooted sin? Pride? Arrogance? Addictions? Abuse? Habitual behaviors?  As soon as the coast is clear of that, we start looking around and questioning our current circumstances in light of some pretty warped memories.
 
Now, the Israelites are in the desert.  God has brought them through the Red Sea and is providing food and water for over a million people from nowhere but by His miraculous hand.  Manna is the perfect daily provision for His people. they not only are fed everyday without sowing and harvesting, they have this wonderful tabernacle that God personally inhabits every day and His presence leads them wherever they are to go.  Pretty good deal huh? Well, here we go again!  They start complaining about the meals. This verse is so stunning, it makes me want to throw my hands up at them.
           "The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost- also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have  lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
Wow! They were so full of it!  Hadn’t cost them anything?  No! Only 430 years of being abused as slaves! They had lost their appetites?  No, they just wanted what they wanted and really didn’t care about God daily meeting their needs in His own way. He knew what was coming and knew if they would just learn to trust Him, they would never want for any good thing!
I don’t know about you, but I see myself in this. I get up, spend time with Him and look to the day and think, “Not this again. Come on Lord, how about a little excitement like I used to know?” Oh, Beloved, don’t ask God for excitement like that!
See, I know from where He has rescued me and, quite frankly, when the enemy begins to whisper things to me about ‘wanting more’ and going back where I was, I ask God for a very accurate memory of the pain, not the pleasures of my sin.  You see the enemy hates you and wants to destroy you. Any memory of my “Egypt” that comes back as ‘good’ is a big fat lie!  Jesus is my portion! He is my treasure! When I’m feeling discontent for any number of reasons, I simply look to Jesus and ask Him to restore my appetite for Him!  Father, bring on the manna, and the fresh, purifying, water that comes from only You! I will choose contentment in that.


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