Summary: Comparing the response of Moses (Numbers 11:4-15) to how Jesus responded (Matthew 14:13-21) after learning John the Baptist was executed. An appropriate response to stress and adversity comes through a deep, abiding relationship with God the Father.
When it comes to complaining, Saint Francis De sales once said, “The truly patient man neither complains of his hard lot nor desires to be pitied by others. He speaks of his sufferings in a natural, true, and sincere way, without murmuring, complaining, or exaggerating them.”
Let’s be honest. I don’t think any of us have never had a time where we were so disgruntled or disappointed that we didn’t let someone know about it! When things get to a boiling point or become overwhelming we love to vent!
Complaining, protesting, moaning and groaning. There can be times where we feel our circumstances warrant the right to complain, gripe, and whine about how bad we have it and how hard we are struggling to put up with it.
Complaining and lamenting our sorrows is very easy to do. Sometimes, it is too easy to do and we find ourselves doing it often. We know as Christians, we are called to rise above this habit that is easy to do but very hard to stop.
Philippians 2:14, “ Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
We know the scriptures and we already know the best way to handle a situation that “pushes our buttons” but we still sometimes, like Moses, give in to the pressure of the situation we are facing and start complaining.
In our Scripture passage today, we see Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The journey, by far, is not easy nor has it been glorious. Moses has given them everything he has and tried showing them time after time how merciful and powerful God is and how faithful he has been towards them.
Yet the people continued to complain and even tried to start a rebellion. The people are starting to get out of control and Moses seems to be in over his head. What does he do? Squashes the rebellion? Like General Patton, he puts everyone in their place and shows them who’s boss? Right?
No, he’s had enough. He’s reached his breaking point. Instead of taking the authority of his leadership position, he goes before God and…complains.
He complains about what a burden it is to lead such rebellious people. In fact, he’s so upset, in verse 14, “I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”
I doubt that I would go before Almighty God and tell Him that “killing me” would be doing me a favor!! I hope that I never face a situation that is that bad or stressful.
The unsaved world is watching and our witness is always under scrutiny, so we need to always be mindful of how we deal with and respond to adversity, stress and unpleasant events that happen in our lives.
Lashing out with expletives, blowing our tops and shouting out hurtful expressions, and even giving God a piece of our minds, may feel great at the time and will give a “temporary high” for unleashing all that is pent up inside us, but the damage that it creates cannot be retracted and the scattered pieces may not be able to all be picked up and put back together again.
When we seem to be hitting our breaking point, our blood is boiling, our feelings are hurt, and we have the urge to heave a vocal tirade of our displeasure, we must step back, put the setting on “safe” and take our finger off the trigger and “cease fire.”
Although, humanly speaking, exploding feels so much better at the time, we must hear the truth today: it is ungodly, unholy, and not the response Jesus teaches us.
Matthew 14:13-21, teaches a very powerful lesson to us in how to respond when overwhelmed and reaching the breaking point. Jesus once again, sets the example for us.
Read: Matthew 14:13-21
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.