It doesn’t matter where you live, there are problems. If you live on the west coast, there are earthquakes and mudslides. If you live on the east coast, there is snow. If you live in the deep south, there are tornadoes and torrential rains that lead to flooding. I could go on about each part of the country. There is no location that is safe from some kind of natural disaster. It happens.
The local news broadcasted that we needed to take shelter. The winds were more than 70 miles per hour. I could hear the city sirens going off as the wind beat against my door and windows. While I sat in the pantry, I was drawn to a scripture that I had read the previous day. It reminded me that no matter what I go through I know that God is there. It’s not a time to complain and whine. It is the time to remember who God is and God’s greatness.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart… A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes,’” Psalm 91.
I shared this passage with several friends as we waited out the storm, and it is a reminder that no matter what we go through, God is present. But there is a caveat: are you dwelling in His shelter and resting in God’s shadow? Or are you finding fault with everything that is occurring around you? As much as I wanted to add one more complaint to my already complicated week, I had another reminder. The children of Israel, as I shared in last week’s column, had a cloud by day and fire by night to lead them. Yet they allowed fear, forgetfulness and their complaining to hinder their ability to enter the Promised Land.
In Numbers 21, God delivered them out of a potential enemy’s grasp, but immediately after witnessing God’s greatness, they started mumbling again.
“But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die inthe wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’ Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So, Moses prayed for the people,” Numbers 21.
God told Moses to make a bronze snake so that the people could look at it on the pole and if bitten, they could look at the snake and live. Despite what goes on around us, how can we live a life of gratitude AND contentment? How can we remember the many things God does for us daily to bless us, and even when things don’t go our way, how can we trust God and remain in the shelter of the Most High? Let me ask you this: What are you looking up to relieve you when you are afraid, lonely, or frustrated? Is it to your friends or other ‘feel goods’ when life bites you? It is remembering the goodness of God or replaying the situation that hurts? “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you,”Proverbs 4:25. Complaining has consequences in our lives. We know in Matthew 14:22-33, Peter almost sank because he took his eyes off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus—no matter what. Seek His grace instead of grumbling.
(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)