Moshe heard the people crying, family after family, each person at the entrance to his tent; the anger of Adonai flared up violently; and Moshe too was displeased. Moshe asked Adonai, “Why are you treating your servant so badly? Why haven’t I found favor in your sight, so that you put the burden of this entire people on me? Did I conceive this people? Was I their father, so that you tell me, ‘Carry them in your arms, like a nurse carrying a baby, to the land you swore to their ancestors?’ Where am I going to get meat to give to this entire people? — because they keep bothering me with their crying and saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry this entire people by myself alone — it’s too much for me! If you are going to treat me this way, then just kill me outright! — please, if you have any mercy toward me! — and don’t let me go on being this miserable!”-Numbers 11:10-15
From Numbers 11:10 we encounter a situation that I bet pretty much any congregation leader can relate too.
I’m talking about the inevitable frustrations, conflicts and disappointments that will always arise from leading a flock of people with all of their idiosyncrasies and frailties.
In my last post, I talked about how the people were complaining because they were sick of eating Manna all day every day.
Well, along similar lines Moses was just as sick of hearing the people gripe and moan about it all day.
Moses’ frustration had reached the boiling point and he was practically ready to commit suicide.
Finally, not being able to hold back any longer he explodes at God and boy does he lay it on thick.
He says and I’m paraphrasing here, “What have I done to deserve such horrendous treatment?!“
He goes on to add “These people aren’t my responsibility? I’m not the one who made a covenant with these people!!! Where in the hell am I going to get meat to feed these whining babies?!”
He continues on by saying “You’d better do something and do something pronto or I’m jumping off of a cliff!!!”
Now I want you to notice how the Lord responds and pay careful attention because it speaks volumes about God’s character and what our relationship with him should be like.
The Lord responds to Moses’ outburst by, well, not responding.
Isn’t that interesting?
God didn’t chastise Moses for blowing up at Him.
Here’s the takeaway.
It’s okay to be honest with your feelings towards God.
Trust me, He can take it.
God knows who He is and He knows who you are.
And there is nothing more therapeutic than to have somebody to whom you can honestly express ALL your feelings no matter how dark and disturbing they may be.
God knows what’s in your heart anyway.
So take it out on Him.
He knows the frustrations or possibly even the nasty feelings you sometimes harbor towards your parents or your spouse.
He knows you’re feeling sexually frustrated and thinking of going on a three hour porno binge once you’ve got some free time to yourself.
He knows you’re worried about your finances and whether or not the job you have now is going to last or not.
He knows about your lower back pain or whatever physical ailment you may be suffering from.
He knows you feel like a failure in life because you haven’t accomplished certain things that society says you should have accomplished at this stage in your life by now.
Trust me, He knows all of the ugliness and bitterness that has taken up residence in your heart.
So whatever it is, release it to Him.
We are commanded to approach the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
And that is exactly what Moses did and I’m saying we should follow his example.
This is true authentic and healthy spirituality, something I bet is sorely lacking in many congregations that love to hide behind their fake smiles and superficial “everything-is-all-candy-dandy” conversations.
Oh and one more thing I feel compelled to add.
This kinda just struck me but do you know how you can tell the difference between a healthy and an abusive relationship?
Here’s a question you can ask yourself to find out.
Does the person with whom you have a relationship with allow you to have your honest feelings or not?
I would say the mark of an abusive relationship is when you’re dealing with somebody who belittles or completely denies your honest feelings.
To me, one of the most abusive statements ever is to say “Well, you shouldn’t feel that way“.
Get outta my face with that BS!!!
Just as Moses’ relationship with HASHEM was one of pure honesty, so should our relationships be based on a bedrock foundation of TRUTH!