I love the sound of a rumbling thunder slowly coming my way. That rumble, grumbly sound is so different. Occasionally we can be fooled by the motor of a unique engine, but I love it when thunder sounds like it's rolling toward you.
We are enjoying the series, The Chosen. We’ve started watching Season Two, and there’s a funny scene about John and Big James. Jesus has asked them to plow a field while they are in Sychar— which is in Samaria. The Samaritans are enemies of the Jews. John and Big James don’t like Samaritans. They don’t understand why Jesus is taking the time to speak to these people.
Oops, let me backup. The Biblical story actually starts when they stopped for water at the well of Samaria, and the shamed woman comes in the middle of the day to draw her water. She met Jesus, became a believer and immediately ran back to town telling everyone, “I met a man who knows everything I’ve done.”
With her reputation of having six husbands and her current man, wasn’t even a husband … people became interested in what she was saying.
Back to the movie, John and Big James were treated rudely while they were with Jesus and became indignant that Jesus didn’t rain down thunder and lightning on the rude Samaritans. This is how the series depicts them getting the nicknames “Sons of Thunder.”
Eventually the hearts of the boys change, and they realize the Samaritans need the words of Jesus, too — just like the Jews.
So back to my original thought — rumbling and grumbling. That is such a dangerous activity. Sometimes we aren’t even aware that we are grumbling. We are so used to having things our way, when we want it and the way we want it — we show our displeasure when that doesn’t happen.
It is really evident these days when so many businesses are short staffed. The Children of Israel’s grumblings got them in so much trouble. Many people lost their lives. In reality grumbling is showing your disrespect for what God has provided for you.
I used to grumble about my curly hair. It wasn’t always this curly. But in reality it is very easy to “fix” every morning and saves me a lot of time. I also used to grumble about being “short.” I’m not as short as some, but 5’3’’ is not tall by any means. When I have to ask for help to get something off the top shelf at the store … that proves I’m short.
Grumbling about something I have no control over tells God I’m ungrateful for how He made me, or what He’s allowed and I think He made a mistake.
Of course God doesn’t make mistakes. Honestly it’s often fun to have my tall sons have to bend down to give me a hug!
Grumbling comes about when we don’t have our heart fixed on Jesus. We aren’t trusting and following. Think back to the wilderness time. The people grumbled about how good they had it in Egypt. Their memories of the past were definitely out of focus. They were mistreated slaves.
Every time we grumble, God hears us. Parents think about how it feels when your children grumble about the cold French fries and you're sitting at a restaurant in DisneyLand! “Oh my goodness you think. You ungrateful child. Do you realize how much this vacation is costing us? And you can’t eat a cold French fry without grumbling?”
When we grumble, we harden our hearts. We can’t see the good God is doing for us and through us.
Hebrews 3 tells us we can’t enter into God’s rest with a hard, grumbling heart. My devotion today focused on the fact we are trying to earn God’s favor … get on His good side … get his attention for all the good things we’ve done … But we can’t earn salvation or an all expense paid trip to Heaven.
Jesus did everything for us, while we were yet sinners, the Bible states. God just wants our trust, our obedience, our faithfulness — not our grumbles.
It’s not my place to grumble about leaders, water or food like the Children of Israel did. If I keep my heart focused on God, and store my treasures in Heaven, it’s much easier not to grumble.
I’m almost afraid to make this column public … because I can feel a test coming on. Will I fail and grumble … or will I pass and praise? I hope I pass. What if our whole community learned to be thankful, kind and not grumble? Wow that would be amazing. So let’s all do our part. “No grumbling allowed.”