By Ricky Chelette
“But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” – Exodus. 17:3
Christmas is over. The packages have been opened. The eggnog and Christmas goodies have been consumed. We’ve attended the Christmas Eve service and heard about the coming of a Savior to redeem the world. It all went… relatively well.
So why the sad face? Could it be that once again our expectations outweighed our experience? Could it be that in the midst of the presents and Aunt June’s fruit ambrosia, we took our sights off the celebration of Christ’s coming and instead, fixated on our needs, our expectations, and ourselves?
If history serves us well, it seems that great moves of God are often followed by times of intense struggle and even doubt. The children of God have had this problem since their beginning.
The Exodus story is just one great example. The passage in Ex. 17 happens after God has delivered the children of Israel by the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:27-30), provided water for them when there was none (Ex. 15:24-25), and allowed manna (a food created by God) to daily rain down from heaven to provide for all their nutritional needs (Ex. 16:4-5). God has been at work and the people have seen it and experience it, yet they complained. We are a lot like the Israelites.
It is easy to lose sight of what God has or is doing in our lives when we shift our focus from eternal to temporal; when we stop thinking about Jesus and start thinking about ourselves.
On the other side of Christmas we need to be grateful:
- Grateful we have a Savior who entered our world
- Grateful we have been spared the wrath of God
- Grateful we have a Savior who came to rescue us
- Grateful we have been given the opportunity for eternal life
- Grateful we have momentary troubles that find their resolve in Him
- Grateful we have a love that will never leave us nor forsake us – Jesus
- Grateful we have The Message of hope and can share it with others
- Grateful we have Jesus
The problem with the Israelites and the problem with you and me is we lack an attitude of gratitude and a hopeful perspective of His Sovereign rule in our lives. Like the Israelites, we want to manage every moment with little faith and even less vision. We want predictable outcomes and plausible plans. God wants to create faith-creating tension and miraculous plans. In doing so we can take no credit and He gets all the glory.
On the day after Christmas bask in the miracle and majesty of the Savior who became a man, in order that we might become saved. Contemplate the surrender of heaven for the surroundings of fallen earth. Wonder at the miracle of virgin birth and the faith of Mary and Joseph. Embrace the truth of His coming to do for sinful humanity, what sinful humanity could not do for itself. Be overwhelmed with Him and underwhelmed with you. But please don’t grumble; be grateful. Take a moment and write down things for which you are grateful and give God thanks.