Grumbling, Complaining, Thankfulness, and Joy

I hate snow. I hate winter. I hate illness.

We’ve had plenty of the above over the last few weeks, and I’ve noticed my attitude souring greatly. I grew up in Florida, and I guess I still have the tropics in my blood. In winter, it’s hard for me to keep my attitude cheerful.

This morning I was reading my Bible, and I’ve been reading in Exodus about the nation of Israel in the wilderness. God had done many mighty, wondrous works for them. He rescued them from Egyptian slavery and kept them safe as Pharaoh’s army pursued them to the desert. He did an amazing miracle as he parted the Red Sea for millions of people to cross on dry ground.

A beautiful song of praise is recorded in chapter 15. Two of my favorite verses are Exodus 15:2, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. This is my God and I will praise him. My father’s God and I will exalt him.” And in Exodus 15:13, “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed. You have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”

And yet, in the very next chapter, we see an ugly episode. The people began grumbling and complaining about the food. They forgot that God had taken them that far and would continue to sustain them. They took their frustrations out on their leaders, Moses and Aaron. Moses answered them in Exodus 16:8, “Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

And this is so true. Any time I begin complaining about my lot in life, I am shaking my finger in the face of the Lord and saying, “This is not good enough for me. I don’t like what you are doing here, Lord. All of your blessings are not enough for me.”

I’ve learned something lately. My grumbling and complaining only hurts myself. It sucks the joy right out of my life. However, when I cultivate a thankful heart, the joy just flows right through me.

Yes, life is hard. It sWinter 2015-2016 010nows. I’m trapped in the house for days at a time with children who also are not always so pleasant. My outside work is made more difficult and time consuming by the weather. However, I have a lovely home that keeps us warm on cold days. We have enough to eat, and other than some colds, coughs, and sore throats, overall, we are a pretty healthy bunch. I can choose to focus on the negative and make myself and my family miserable. Or, I can be thankful, joyful, and cheerful and bring a whole lot of happy to my family. The choice is all mine.

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