Complaining to God

In today's first reading, we get a very human reaction ... complaining to God.

"From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road, to bypass the land of Edom. But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, 'Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!'"

The rest of the story of course is more supernatural. Snakes, deals and miracles with Moses again saving the day.

In prayer this morning, I spent more time with the complaining. How very real that seems to me. Like kids getting motion sick in the back seat of the car they lash out and complain. Are we there yet? Why do we have to visit grandma anyway? Yes I laughed. Perhaps because it hits so close to home. Who has not complained to God?

Sometimes it is more than that. I will never forget my deep spiritual struggle when my mother was dying from cancer. I was so pissed off at God. I had moved far beyond complaining. I was giving God the serious silent treatment,  not sure if this relationship was going to work out after all, me and God, if this was how he treated a saint like my mother. Let alone all the other suffering in the world.

In the end we got through that rough patch. My mom died. I was even more angry at God. But with the help of a wise friend I realized that anger is a pretty intimate and real emotion. I had been lamenting that I wasn't sure I wanted to believe in God. My wise friend pointed out that it's pretty hard to be angry at someone you don't believe in. To make a long story short, I think that was the beginning of my adult spiritual relationship with God.

Not to say that there are no more rough patches. I have been known to still complain from time to time. I want to make a deal too when things get particularly out of hand. But more and more, I have leaned into my growing and deepening awareness of the awesome and loving presence of God. God who became human. God who understands the emotional roller coaster that is life, even the spiritual life, and loves us all the more.

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