“And say thou unto the people, Sanctify (consecrate) yourselves against (for) to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh (meat): for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh (meat) to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh (meat), and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt (Why did we ever leave Egypt)?”Numbers 11:18-20
I think back to all the times I complained about things in my life I did not like or agree with, and times when I thought things were unfair. I was not quiet in voicing my displeasure when I felt slighted, and I thought my complaints fell on deaf ears or they were only heard by the people who surrounded me. I did not realize the whining from my mouth was heard in the ears of my God and He was not pleased with my complaints. I was foolish in the things I said, and I was foolish to not realize my complaints were against God directly.
I went to a Christian school from the time I was in kindergarten until halfway through my senior year. My parents cared enough about my education that they sacrificed for me to go to a Christian school. They paid taxes like everyone else for the public school, and they also paid my tuition to be taught academics from a Christian perspective. I thought nothing of this sacrifice as a kid, and I was pretty happy-go-lucky in those years. I did not know better, and I was not fully aware that there were other options outside of the Christian school. I remember speaking to my cousin when he started to tell me things about his school that were much different than the school I attended.
He told me about their lunch hours, the freedom to cuss, and the fights that often occurred. He glamorized the public school experience, and as he did, my Christian school experience did not seem to add up and I grew discontent. I began to long for the public school experience, and I wanted out of my Christian school. I thought it would be neat to shake things up, and I could finally be the class clown I always desired to be with no restrictions. I wouldn’t have to attend chapel twice a week, and I would not have to tuck my shirt in. I could make new friends and we could do the “cool” things I always wanted to do. I did not think of academics in any way as I would be too busy having fun with my new friends and experiences. I longed for the day I could attend a public school, and one day, my hope turned into reality.
I was dismissed from my Christian school midway through my senior year, and I was deemed untouchable by our church Christian school because I was booted from another Christian school. My parents had no other real options than to send me to the public school system that they had been paying for all those years through their tax dollars. I went from a small Christian school where I was pretty popular to a large public school where people brushed by me and did not even acknowledge my existence. I dressed differently than everyone else, and I would like to say I stuck out like a sore thumb, but that would mean I was noticed among the crowd, which was not the case. It took me awhile to gain some friends, but the whole time, I felt as though I didn’t belong. Public school, the very thing I desired much of my school career, was not all I had made it out to be, and I was too prideful to admit this to anyone at the time. I lied about my public school experience to my friends, and I graduated my senior year with total strangers. I did not have the same experience as my other classmates as I believe I was the only one to join the senior class midway through their senior year. I learned to be careful what you wish for as it is not always what it cracks up to be.
I think of the children of Israel and how they desired meat to eat and complained about how good they had it back in Egypt. They complained about their current condition and even though God had provided for them with manna, they wanted meat to eat. God was displeased with their complaining, and He concluded that He would give them meat until it “came out of their nostrils”. I love meat, but I am not sure I would still like it in those large quantities. The Lord was displeased because they longed for Egypt where they were slaves, which is akin to us longing for our sinful past before we were saved. Be careful what you complain about because God is listening and you may get that for which you long for.
Where are you today Christian? Do you long for your sinful past? Do you glamorize that time in your life from which God delivered you? Do you find yourself complaining more than you find yourself giving Him praise and thanks? How different would your life be if you got all that you complained about? How different would it be if you thanked God as much as you complained? May God help us to be grateful for all He has given us and for all He has allowed in our life. May we be thankful in all things, and may we be careful in what we wish for.