Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: God-Relying Grumbling
- What has been your litany of grumbles and grievances to God over the past two years?
- How has God’s care and presence shown up for you in the past two years?
- What does it look like to trust God “when everything comes crashing down”?
So Moses cried out in prayer to God. God pointed him to a stick of wood. Moses threw it into the water and the water turned sweet. – Exodus 15:25 (MSG)
As we navigate the effects of a wide range of unbelievable bizarreness from the last two years, the stories of the ancient Israelites are oddly comforting. Their action-packed escape from Pharaoh’s oppressive rule had plenty of bizarreness, including a series of
pandemics plagues and a miraculous maneuvering of the parted Red Sea.
Adrenaline at an all-time high, the people were finally free…
…to begin a yet-to-be-realized four decades of wandering in the wilderness. On this side of liberation, the water they encountered to quench thirst and hydrate overly exerted bodies was bitter and unpotable. Moses carried the concerns to God, who regularly makes a mockery of impossible. Moses took the wood God showed him, tossed it into the water, and just like that—the water became sweet.
This was the first of several divine interventions Moses initiated on behalf of the people who, pre-pandemic et al., we might have considered chronic whiners. Now we recognize that their grumbling is one of the most God-relying things they could do. When everything comes crashing down and no way forward feels feasible, uttering their grievances relies on the faith and trust in a God who cares enough to hear them.
More than that, when the Israelites grew anxious and decided to take matters into their own hands (e.g. the golden calf fiasco in Exodus 32), God did not abandon them.
Loving God, hear our grumbles and prayers. Even as we human ourselves out of covenant with you, thank you for faithfully choosing, rescuing, and caring for us anyway. Amen.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Ambassador for Innovation & Engagement of the United Church of Christ. They are also the Founder of Salus Center, the only LGBTQ resource and community center in Lansing, MI.