The Grumbling Pastor

26 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. 28 So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
—Numbers 14:26-30

I confess that there are times when I grumble about my church. 

Oh, they aren’t usually in public. In fact, most often they are behind closed doors, to family and perhaps in rare occasions the trusted friend.

But still, there are times when I find myself less than positive about the road ahead. I can see off in the distance, toward the promised land, but the obstacles ahead seem too overwhelming, and I find myself fall into despair at roadblocks in front of us. In the midst of this I find myself grumbling, depressed, and bereft of the hope that Christ offers for transformation. 

However, I need to take care, for my attitude isn’t that far from the Hebrew people grumbling in the wilderness. One wonder’s if there isn’t a point for many of us where God simply says, “Enough already! You are consigned to the wilderness and won’t see the promised land.” In Christ, of course, the possibility of transformation and resurrection gives us the hope that in the end we will cross the Jordan and enter the place prepared for us. But in the here and now, I have to recognize that the grumbling spirit leads to a grumbling church that will indeed never see the waters part and find themselves in a land of milk and honey. 

Caleb and Joshua got it. They understood that the possibilities on the other side far outweighed the difficulties in the short term. 

When will I get it?

God of the ages, please take my negativity and tendency towards depression and throw them to the far winds. Instill me with that sense of hope that sees far beyond the barriers ahead. Amen.


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