I sat in a coffee shop recently and overheard the ladies at the table near me deep in conversation. The shop was small and they were loud, so I could hear every negative and complaining word they spoke. One was obsessed with how her husband didn't measure up to her standards; the other was consumed with bitterness over a boss who seemingly didn't value her as she thought proper. It struck me that they were both miserable within great provision. One was married, provided for financially and emotionally. The other was employed, provided with security and income. Yet, both were miserable and discontent with the portion they had.
They were much like the Israelites in the wilderness, or as I like to call them...The "Miserable-ites!"
In Exodus 16:3 the Israelites were in the wilderness hungry and grumbly. "Would that we have died by the Lord's hand in Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate bread till we were full."
God responded, saying, "I will rain bread from heaven and the Israelites will go out and gather a day's portion each day. " (vs. 4) In other words, God provided them manna. But, that wasn't good enough.
The people cried, "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we used to eat free in Egypt... the cucumbers, melons, leaks, onions and garlic. But now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all." (Numbers 11:4-6)
The Israelites continued to complain about the lack of meat. They complained they had nothing to eat but manna. It was as if they said, "God, all we have is what you provided."
Rescued from Egypt, daily provided for, yet utterly miserable? They were surrounded with God's provision, but they were miserable because they didn't receive it. They may have physically digested it, but they didn't take it in, acknowledge it for what it was - God's kindness and grace.
Just like the ladies in the coffee shop, they were consumed with an ample portion of misery, bitterness and a myriad of other emotions. It wasn't because God had not provided; it was because they had not consumed His provision.
We, too, can become miserable when we don't acknowledge God's provision whether it is in a job or a marriage. Instead of consuming the manna/grace He provides, we become consumed with our own lack. We don't notice His faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says, "Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."
When we "consume" the portion of grace God gives us, we will not be consumed by anything but gratefulness. I don't know about you, but I want to focus on God's provision, not the imperfection of others or the flavor of the manna he provides. Enough said.
Well, that's what's been percolating in me lately.