A cure for complaining

Whenever we look at the cross, let us remember what God has done for us.

The people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” — Numbers 21:5

When we complain, we forget about the blessings we have already received. We forget what God has done for us in the past.

We forget how He helped us through a difficult situation, helped us pass our board exams, provided for us in times of need, healed us or our loved ones from illnesses.

We forget how fortunate we are to eat three meals a day when people in some parts of the world don’t even get to eat a single meal a day.

Sometimes, when we complain, we are even like the Israelites who grumbled about the very blessing that they received, the manna from heaven, and called it wretched. When difficulties in our jobs, careers, and marriages that we prayed for arise, we complain to God about them.

The story of the Israelites continued with God sending seraph serpents among the people:

So the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bite the people so that many of the Israelites died.

Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover.

Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered. — Numbers 21:6-9

By looking at the bronze serpent, the Israelites were healed from their affliction. At the same time, they were healed from their ungratefulness and complaining.

The bronze serpent was a prefiguration of Jesus on the Cross.

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. — John 3:14-15

By looking at Jesus on the cross, we remember what He has done for us. We remember how He found us worthy of His own life and died for our sins. We remember how the Father sent His only Son to save us (which, as a father, myself, is a really painful thought).

How can we complain when Jesus suffered and died so that we can live?

Whenever we look at the cross, let us remember what God has done for us.


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