Grumble, Grumble Leadership
For some, the past several months may have felt like wading slow-motion through deep water against the current. A struggle! And then again, from a different perspective, the time since we first heard the word COVID-19 seems impossibly short. #COVID #struggle #time
One thing’s for certain, there’s been no shortage of opinions and complaints about how the whole matter has been handled. Breathe a sigh of relief -- I’m not here to offer any more of that. #complaining #grumbling
I’m here to draw some analogies and ask some questions.
Numbers 11:4-6 (NLT), “Then the foreign rabble who were travelling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. ‘Oh, for some meat!’ they exclaimed. ‘We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!’”
I'm not saying that wanting the meat was bad. Meat is good! But it strikes me as odd how distorted the peoples' memories of their Egyptian experience had been become. How quickly they had forgotten about the hardships and poor treatment they had endured there. They’d forgotten all about the real cost of their meat and melons – it was far from "free"! Their cost came in the form of oppression, slavery, hard labor, and slaughtered children. Suddenly they were uber-focused on the things they didn’t have. Hmm.
All this while God’s presence is literally visible to them -- a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. And, oh by the way, God was providing fresh bread from heaven (manna) daily -- except on the Sabbath, but that's another story. That's kind of like the Krispy Kreme "hot now" sign being on 24/7. The point is they seemed to be voicing contempt toward the bread God was miraculously providing daily!
Amid this discontent, Moses had a little outburst when the people began whining about wanting meat. He demanded of God, how can you be so cruel to me, making me carry the burden of these people all by myself. And he demanded God let him know how he was to provide meat for all these people – over 600,000 military-aged men plus women and children and Levites. Likely between a million to a couple of million people! (Numbers 13:10-15 (NLT)).
I don’t know about you all, but I’m feeling like Moses was lucky his little outburst didn’t earn him air-fried vulture-bait status in the wilderness. But it seems like God was registering with his frustration, and in agreement, instructed Moses on how to divide the burden of caring for these fickle people.
I also wonder why God didn’t correct Moses’ perception that he was “doing this on his own”; leading this flock of wayward complainers was never Moses on his own. God had been instructing with great specificity and finite detail about how things should be done. No. Moses was never doing this by himself. God gave Moses what he asked for rather than correcting his distorted perception. Hmm.
Have we convinced ourselves that we are doing life under our own power? Maybe we're trying that -- is it really a curiosity that we’re frustrated and exhausted? #whereisthepower #Godspower #frustrated
I wonder if that’s one of the reasons God chose to allow the world to come to a halt. Did He allow this so we would have the bandwidth to stop and notice He’s still here – He’s ever-present? #Heisnear
And discomfort is where God’s presence is most discernible (if we’re looking for it). It is often the tool He uses to draw us near.
Will we complain? Or will we refocus our eyes, our spirits on Him?
He is near. He is leading.