Spending time with a dear friend on a recent cold morning reminded me of the simple blessings in life. We sat comfortably in the local coffee shop sipping our steaming hot drinks and sharing the latest life stories. By the time we departed, I was rejuvenated enough to face another week of uncertain pain challenges amid the unpleasantness of a messy Boston winter. I have much to be grateful for, I thought, and I was intent not to forget it.
But let’s face it – sometimes we do forget it. Sometimes life sails along quite well but we find reasons to be unsatisfied and complain. I don’t think we intend to sabotage our happiness, it just happens – like water turning to solid ice during an overnight freeze. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and realize that complaining does nothing to enhance our quality of life. In fact, most of what we complain about never actually materializes. Biblical history has shown that God is always on our side, constantly working for our good. He works in the little ways of daily life and sometimes in big ways when there is no other explanation for a positive outcome other than divine intercession. I like to call these miraculous occurrences Red Sea moments.
In my Bible in a Year reading course, we just finished the story of Moses leading the people out of slavery from Egypt. I’ll be honest – I almost skipped this story since I’ve heard it a million times. But I am glad that I didn’t because when I actually read the text in Exodus, I was astounded at the number of times the Israelites complained against God. In Exodus 14:12 they said to Moses, “Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? Far better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Of course God enabled Moses to part the Red Sea thus saving the Israelites from the aggressive Egyptians so the people believed in God again, but not for long. When they got hungry and thirsty, they complained again. But as I read, I wondered, why didn’t they trust? Time and again God met their needs yet any time they were slightly uncomfortable, they questioned him and complained again.
Unfortunately, I realized that I am not that different from the ancient Israelites. When I look back on my life I see that God has provided for all of my needs and much, much more. And yet, sometimes I still complain when I get weary or concerned about certain things. Reading the story about the parting of the Red Sea reminded me that God is always fighting for us. He is silently willing our good and leading us to the promised land in our daily lives. Our job is to trust him.
Trusting is hard for many of us. But we are called to be persistent, alert and prayerful in order to find and give thanks to God for the Red Sea moments in our own lives. I recognized one of these moments just the other day. I was due to receive pain injections but my appointment was cancelled due to last month’s positive COVID test. After a series of missed calls and confusing messages from the Pain Clinic, I was left to believe that my appointment was firmly cancelled. I decided to give it one more try when I called back and spoke to a kindly front desk gal. After hearing my story, which included an extra long period of time since my last set of injections, she decided to allow me to come in saying, “It’s obvious you are not contagious since it’s been weeks since the COVID test, plus you’ve been vaccinated and boosted. I can also hear the pain in your voice. Yes, you can come in for your appointment tomorrow.” Red Sea moment, thank YOU God!
What are your Red Sea moments? We’ve all had them because God fights for all his people. It’s good to recognize the many ways that God has blessed us. By doing so, we tend to complain less and enjoy life more – like having coffee with a good friend. 🙂