Sunday, September 21, 2008

Craving and grumbling

I was reading Numbers 11 recently as part of working through the excellent Gentle Rain on Tender Grass by Sharon James. In this chapter, the Israelites are grumbling against God about the manna he has provided for them and harking back to their captivity in Egypt (where they had all the cucumbers they could eat, apparently!). As a result of their complaining and ingratitude they were judged severely. This also tied in with a John Piper sermon I just listened to on John 13:31-35. Part way through he talked about how we must lay aside our feelings of "entitlement" in order to love like Christ.

All of this has reminded me again how easily it is to slip into an "entitlement syndrome" where I feel things should happen in a certain way, to a certain timetable of my choosing. When things don't go that way, often my first response is to grumble to God, just like the Israelites did.

We are in the middle of planning a very big move from Scotland to the USA, and there is a lot to do. When things don't seem to be working out to plan, or when the headlines are yet again full of financial disasters I'm finding it hard not to default to grumbling. But as Sharon James says,
If our hearts crave after things that the Lord has not yet provided, there is only one thing to do: pray.
She then quotes from the Imitation of Christ:
What you should feel and say when you meet something you would like: 'Lord, if this is your will, let it happen like this. Lord, if you see that this will help me and do me good, then grant that I may use it to the honour of your name. But if you know that it will harm me and not advance my soul's salvation, then take the desire away.' You cannot find complete satisfaction in any temporal gift, because you were not created to find your delight in them. Even if you possessed all the good things that God has created, you could not feel happy and glad; all your gladness and happiness rests in the God who created those things.

5 comments:

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Ouch! You're stepping on my toes. :) I have been struggling with this very issue this week, both with myself and others. Thank you for reminding us of the sinfulness of this attitude. Much appreciated!

(BTW, I love your flower picture. I have a similar one on my blog. Isn't it lovely?)

Catriona said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Marcia. The flower is from a hydrangea bush in our garden - something I'll miss when we move, among other things!

The Robinson Family said...

Catriona,

I enjoy reading Titus 2 Talk, thanks for all your efforts in updating the blog.

I am from Yorkshire, living in the US. My husband and I moved out here 4.5 years ago from London (he went to University in Edinburgh). If I can be of any help with questions about your move to the US, please let me know. (i'm not sure if you have an email contact option on your site somewhere?)

regards. Rachel

Catriona said...

Hi Rachel,

Sorry to take so long to reply to your comment - things have been a bit manic around here! I'd love to get some advice from you about what to expect when we re-locate. If you wouldn't mind emailing me at women@charlottechapel.org, I can reply to you with my personal email.

Catriona

jessika said...

Hi Catriona,
I've just stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for other instances where that particular excerpt from The Imitation of Christ has been quoted. I was planning on using it on my blog. Would you mind if I linked to this post (and your blog)? I think you've hit the nail spot on.

By the way, I recently moved back to the States from England (Stoke-on-Trent) last October. I am an American, but had been living overseas for a few years. I suppose you have now moved and are in the US? I hope you've not had much trouble settling. God is so good and brings joys we can't imagine with each new move and change. God bless!

Jessika