Daily Reflection
April 4th, 2006

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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Numbers 21:4-9
Psalm 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21
John 8:21-30

The lessons for today are probably among the most important one’s I’ve learned in my faith journey. How many times do we grow impatient with our journey in life? If we are honest, we have to admit that we complain to God in many ways with the dissatisfaction we so often express with our lots in life. Like the children of Israel on the Red Sea road, we go grumbling along. But what does our complaining get us? Usually we suffer more from our complaining than from the actual conditions of the journey of life that challenge us. We bring plagues upon ourselves when we give up faith and hope and doom ourselves to despair.

Life can be tough, in fact, it usually is. God didn’t tell us it wouldn’t be and God doesn’t like a bunch of whiners. But God does hear when we pray out of our distress and our suffering. The difference between crying out to God for help and the sin of complaining is both a mental and a spiritual health issue. The Psalm for today is a cry for help, not groan of disgust. God listens to us when we cry out for help, but only if we do it from the perspective of praise.

Jesus tells us the same thing. If we focus on this world and what limits or frustrates us, we will condemn ourselves. If we lift up Jesus and believe that he has the power and wisdom of the kingdom of God to help us, we too will be lifted up out of the distressful circumstances of this world. So whatever is troubling us, we must first petition God with praise. To not do so, is to sin against God. To do so, is to be released from our sins. Sometimes we need to sit down and make a list just to remind ourselves of how our perspectives can get skewed in the direction of complaining. We each have our own ways of praising God. It is a good habit to develop as many as we can to counter all of our gripes. And just to keep ourselves honest, it is a good practice to share them with others. Here’s mine for today: Instead of complaining that winter is still hanging on, I thank God for Daffodils!

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