FOR THURSDAY TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Exodus 16:1-21
“The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (Exodus 16:2; New Revised Standard Version)
Have you ever noticed how easy it is, for those of us outside this story, to make a judgment on these Israelites as whiners, not appreciating all that God had already done for them. We are more than ready to call them faithless. Yet, like it or not, we are more IN this story that we might realize. All of us have a tendency to forget what God has done for us in the times of trial. This is why we gather to worship and remember the stories of redemption and love.
Then again, maybe the complaints of God’s people are simply an expression of a faith that believes in a God who cares enough to hear their complaints. Professor of Religion, Elna Solvang writes, “At its core, complaint is a turning to God – not away – trusting that God the Almighty does not ignore, dismiss or punish those who call out in fear, anger, suffering, and need.” Think of all the different kinds of prayers found in the Psalms which are prayers of complaint.
When we hear another complaining this day, instead of rolling our eyes in frustration and ignoring their cries, maybe we need to listen to them and try to understand things from their perspective. Then we may find a way to respond in ways that offer support and care.
PRAYER: Compassionate and Understanding God, help me to listen with empathy to the pain of others this day instead of complaining about their cries. Create in me a heart of love and mercy. Amen.