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the complaint department
"But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses." —Numbers 21:4-5
After hundreds of years of slavery, the Israelite people were finally on their way to the promised land. The Lord had miraculously freed them from slavery, rescued them from the Egyptian army, and fed them with manna from the heavens. But they were tired from walking and not happy with the food. So they complained to God in their petty selfishness (Nm 21:5). The Lord was not pleased with this ingratitude; thus He sent serpents to kill some of the people so that the Israelites might learn from their mistakes (Nm 21:6).
After the human race was enslaved through sin for thousands of years, the Lord became a human being, died on a cross, and rose from the dead to give us a new nature and to make us adopted children of God. In Christ, we can already be living the abundant, eternal life, and we are on our way to the perfect love and life of heaven. But we are struggling with the trials and crosses of the Christian life, and we wish we had more pleasures. So some of us complain to God in our petty selfishness. The Lord is not pleased with this ingratitude, so He sends the Church with her preachers, prophets, missionaries, and martyrs to turn us from our sinful ways and lead us to heaven. This Lent, repent!
Prayer: Father, how can I make a return to You for all the good You have done for me? (Ps 116:12)
Promise: "When you lift up the Son of Man, you will come to realize that I AM and that I do nothing by Myself. I say only what the Father has taught Me." —Jn 8:28
Praise: At ministry workdays, Marcia asks people to say five thankful things for each word of complaint they utter.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape The Necessity of Confession for Renewal on audio AV 70-1 or video V-70.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002