‘I wanted strawberry, not mixed berry!’
My daughter was upset with the breakfast bar I gave her to eat in the car. We were on our way to her school and she had not yet eaten breakfast. ‘You said berry,’ I said. ‘You were not specific.’ It did not make a difference, and soon after there was a lot of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. At that point, I gave her a choice of eating the breakfast bar or going without any food. It was not long before she was munching on the mixed berry bar and talking about school.
I wonder if this is how we sound to God. ‘I didn’t want this, I wanted that!’ We know from the Old Testament that the Israelites complained about things. In Exodus 16:3 we find the children of Israel saying, ‘If we had only died in Egypt, where we had plenty of bread!’ The Israelites murmur again in Numbers chapter 11, saying, ‘We remember the fish and cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic that we ate in Egypt.’ When the Israelites demand meat, God says in verse 20 that He will give them meat until it is coming out of their nostrils. For one reason or another, that phrase has always reminded me of ‘Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.’ Regardless, I do not think it has made as much difference as it should have over the centuries.
We know from Philippians 2:14 that Christians were complaining. Why else would the Holy Spirit have inspired Paul to tell his readers to do all things without murmurings and disputings? A similar advisement is made in 1 Corinthians 10:10. Jesus even tells people in John 6:43 not to murmur among themselves. Still, I’ll be honest and tell you that I complain about things and on more than one occasion.
When I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to go into broadcasting. My goal was to be America’s next great sportscaster. I even convinced some of my friends that I would one day work for one of the big sports channels and cover events like the Super Bowl. God, obviously, had other plans. Nonetheless, when times get hard, stories are difficult to bear and negative comments from readers are tough, I sometimes feel like saying ‘I wanted to do sports, not news!’ Just recently, I somehow managed to get grease on a new pair of church pants. You know the kind. It’s the pair that you wear at church and on special occasions. The stain made me upset and I said ‘I can’t have anything nice, now I’m stuck with these!’ I never thanked God for the pants (which were a gift). However, I was quick to complain that my pants were ruined.
It is my hope that dads out there know where I am coming from with this post. I also hope it lets dads know that they are not alone. Times will get tough. Things will happen. Meantime, we will not always get what we want. It is in those moments that we have a choice. Go with what we are given, or go without. Which one do you choose?