Children. Don’t we just love ‘em?
This weekend we had the incredible privilege of seeing our full brood at a wedding, and that included personal time in the halls of the reception venue alone with the World’s Most Adorable Granddaughter, (A.K.A., WMAG), so that her parents could enjoy a few minutes together on the dance floor. (A rarity, as only those with toddlers can appreciate.)
Needless to say, I had a ball!
Of course, then those little angels grow up and make decisions that are not always quite so angelic at times. They give their parents cause to worry, and cry, and pray, and cry and pray some more. You know, like we did to our folks…
Based on what I read, God understands that:
“There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, ‘If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord!’
So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, ‘Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly…”
Okay, except that’s not exactly what God had told Moses to do. And God doesn’t grade on a curve, if you get my drift.
It’s not like the people had never been in this position before. The deliverance from Egypt with the supernatural plagues, all that, as well as water from a different rock earlier in the journey. This time they could have at least said please.
Poignantly, God renames these places “Meribah”, meaning “contention or striving”. It’s not just that the people were dissatisfied with what was provided; rather, they were not satisfied that God understood what needed to be provided, (c’mon, like He didn’t know water was helpful when going through a desert?), and that He was perfectly capable and culpable for that provision.
He’s a good Dad.
Interestingly, our words contend and content only have one letter that sets them apart, but they are from root words that are vastly opposite. “To contend” means to strive after, and is related to a word that means to grasp, have possession of. Makes me think of this:
And, similar to Moses’ situation, my contention can be an element that provokes others to make additional bad decisions with corresponding consequences for them as well. (A point worth pondering in and of itself.)
On the other hand, “to be content” indicates satisfaction, which originates from a word meaning to contain or restrain my desires by what I have in the present moment. (Ouch….!)
I suspect with many of us, (or am I unique? I think not…), our choices between these two options have to do with timing. Restoration of relationships, professional opportunities, and all the rest. Embracing and patiently working through the pain of what we thirst for gives expression to our faith, that our God is a good Dad indeed.
And THAT makes all the difference in how we ask.
Numbers 20:2, 9-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation