Today I stumbled upon the following essay which I wrote just over a year ago. I remember this time period well. I was often exasperated...or maybe I should be down right honest and say that I was ALWAYS exasperated. My husband was on his fourth month of unemployment (his company relocated and we decided not to follow) and the job outlook was bleak. I was like the Israelites. A big complainer. Yet God continually showed his faithfulness. He is always faithful to lift those burdens for us when we are unable. I continue to learn the importance of leaning on my Heavenly Father.
The definition of exasperation is the state of being exasperated; irritation; extreme annoyance.
Are you annoyed or irritated by the responsibilities in your life? Are you tired of doing everyone’s laundry or making sure that your family is fed even when you do not feel like cooking? Are you tired of picking up after your kids/spouse? At your workplace, do you feel that you are carrying more than your fair share of the workload? Are you overwhelmed to extreme annoyance of your responsibilities to your family, your employer, your friends, etc? I know if I was being asked those questions I would be vigorously shaking my head saying, “Oh, you know I am!” If allowed, I would probably even spend a few moments complaining about my burdens.
I am studying Numbers 11:10-15 and Moses’ cry to God during his moment of exasperation. Moses is fed up with his responsibility of leading the complaining, whiny Israelites. In Numbers 11:14, Moses cries out to God, “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me!” Wow, I think I have felt those sentiments before. In fact, I felt this way yesterday. How easily we forget that we are NOT carrying our burdens alone. God is there! In Phil. 3:13, Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” Paul writes this after enduring many hardships, beatings and imprisonment. How much greater were Paul’s burdens than mine….and how much greater still was the burden that Jesus carried as he suffered the cross for MY sins.
Yet I complain, as the Israelites did. How we must exasperate our Father! Has he not proven himself faithful? Does he not always provide? In Numbers 11:10 states, “and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused”. At this point God has provided for the Israelites everything they needed; however, the Israelites have grown discontent. God has freed the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, he parted a sea for them, he provided food to nourish their bodies and yet they want more. God had given them a promise, a hope for things to come and yet they grumble and complain rather than wait patiently for God’s timing. I am feeling a bit humbled as I compare my complaints with those of the Israelites. God has provided all of my needs and even promises to continue providing for me. Yet, I must admit, with my head hung in shame, that sometimes my attitude of discontentment inadvertently claims that God’s provisions are not good enough. Shame, shame on the Israelites and shame, shame on me.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy we read, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1Tim. 6:6-8). Paul also says in Phil. 2:14 to “do all things without complaining and disputing”. Once again, this is coming from a man who could have so much to complain about. I have been reminded today that sometimes the burdens in our life can be very heavy however, I must find comfort in knowing that I do not carry this burden alone, I can find hope in God’s promises, and I can rely on a faith that is based on the provisions God has provided in the past. I am also reminded to use my words to praise God rather than participate in bitter complaining. He has given me so much, not to mention the sacrifice of his son. I am learning what Paul means in Phil. 4:9, “in whatever state I am, to be content”. May God help you find contentment in whatever state you are in today.