Mumble your grievances to the Lord, all the earth
Serve the Lord with gloominess
Enter his presence with bitter cynicism
Enter his gates with lamenting
This is the day that despair has made
I will be sad and complain in it
-The psalms, according to the modern religious complainy-pants
- You were slaves, now you’re free.
- Your former slaveholders sent you off with you food, livestock, jewelry, money.
- Your enemies were trying to kill you, but they ended up dead themselves.
- Food divinely provided, despite passing through a barren wasteland.
- Water divinely provided, despite being in the middle of a desert.
- You’re headed to a new, beautiful homeland. The land is free, fruitful, and an eternal inheritance for your family.
- God’s literal and visible presence is there in your midst, miracles performed daily in front of your eyes.
- God promises to make you a famous and holy people who will bless EVERY NATION ON EARTH.
With all these blessings, people whined and complained.
When they saw their enemies behind them, they complained they would be killed. When God sank their enemies into the sea, they complained about the enemies in front of them. They complained about food. When God provided food, they complained about that kind of food and demanded a different kind of food. They complained about their leader. When the leader stepped away for a month, they complained he was dead. They complained God abandoned them. They whined and complained for their entire generation.
They had it so good! The rich blessings of heaven, providence, God in their midst, earthly riches, wives and children and grandchildren. And they friggin’ complained about it.
Complaining is the same yesterday, today, and forever
Why are so many religious people today utterly despairing and cynical? A bunch of complainy-pants, whiny doomsday gloom bodies.
Tell me, dear lovers of the God of Israel:
- Have you ever seen a man die of smallpox?
- Watched a child suffocate from polio lung paralysis?
- Witnessed routine infant or mother death during birth?
- Seen a plague of insects destroy your food for the winter?
- Had to walk hundreds of miles to speak with your family?
- Watched a person die because of infection?
- Seen a man die because he needed surgery, but could not receive it?
- Have you had to live in a home exposed to the elements, without heater or air conditioning or electricity?
Nope. You haven’t, and I haven’t. Even though these things happened regularly in the ancient world, they don’t happen today.
Why is that?
We don’t suffer plagues, because medicine like antibiotics and vaccines and sanitation prevent infection and disease. (Some drugs even cure disease outright: as of a few months ago, Hepatitis C is now cured through a 12-week regimen – hallelu!)
We’ve never seen a famine thanks to technology like farm irrigation, water reservoirs, crop rotation, motorized (and self-driving, GPS-enabled) tractors and mechanized harvesters, automated cow milkers, and crop seeds whose genes have been spliced to resist pests and produce bigger harvests.
We have all the food we need and then some.
We don’t suffer from the devastating, civilization-undoing plagues of yesteryear.
We can speak with anyone in the world with a tap of a finger.
We can safely travel across oceans in a matter of hours.
If there is something wrong with your body, we have knowledge (surgery) and professionals who can fix it.
Deaf? No problem, we can fix that:
Got an infection? We’ve got a cure for that.
Blind? We’re working on it.
Cancer? We’ve nearly got it figured out.
Need to find some information? The repository containing the SUM TOTAL KNOWLEDGE OF HUMANKIND is at your fingertips.
All of this has happened because God has given us the ability to think, reason, learn.
Today’s blessings, today’s complaints
Medicine is curing disease? Complain about medical business practices and Big Pharma.
Surgery saved your life? Complain about the etymology of the Greek word pharmakeia.
Farms producing a bumper crop? Complain about the seed composition.
Antibiotics preventing infection? Complain that it disrupts your inner chi. (And start taking probiotics, goshdarnit!)
Travel long distances quickly via technology? Complain about the vehicle’s impact on global climate.
Technology providing you assorted comforts? Complain about the doomsday coming.
Got a cure for a deadly disease? Complain it costs too much.
Got more food than you need? Complain it’s not organic.
Got more organic food than you need? Complain it’s not free-range fed.
Got more organic, free-range fed food than you need? Complain it’s not gluten-free.
Got more organic, free-range fed, gluten-free food you need? Complain it’s not GMO-free.
MY GOD, people! Please fetch your organic, free-range fed gluten-free veganoctosher trimmed granola GMO-free nut bran barfbars from your naturopathic homeopathic whole natural food store run by Dr. Hedupmetuches – I am checking out!
Me? I am honestly and truly GRATEFUL TO GOD to be alive in this fantastic age. What a time to be alive!
As a child, my life was saved because of modern medicine. I can talk to my family instantly without having to travel long distances. I have never had to suffer smallpox or polio or measles, or any other great disease that once plagued mankind. I have running water, a warm home, more food than I need.
I am grateful!
Recognize God at work and be happy about it
Instead of complaining in the desert about anything and everything, religious people should be grateful to God for this opportunity.
Religious people more so than secular people, even, because we have the riches of God.
Religious people: be glad that you are alive today. What a great honor and blessing to be alive in this age that allows us health, riches, comfort. This age that allows us to practice our faith and values with little to no persecution.
Be joyful that God cares about you enough to give you a written document showing you how to live a good and joyful life.
Consider yourself honored that God demonstrated miracles to you in this generation, including the restoration of the land of Israel and the Jewish people to that land.
Marvel at the works of God, how he has preserved us – people that once were not a people but now are called divinely adopted sons and daughters.
Look at how God has allowed you, in the fabric of time and space, to live in an age where you can read and understand and grow in knowledge. In past ages, the Bible wasn’t available in your native tongue, even if you were among the privileged few who could read! How blessed you are that the Scriptures are so easily available to you today, instantly accessible for your benefit.
Religious people, remember God’s promise and be encouraged: eternal life with God for every man who calls on Him and lives for Him.
Disciples of Yeshua, rejoice! God promised that we would have a seat at His table in the world to come.
Why worry so much? God promised even death won’t overcome the righteous. He’ll raise you up on that great and awesome day, give you a new and transformed body.
We are blessed to live in this age, blessed to know God, blessed to have the commandments, blessed to have Messiah, blessed with God’s lasting promises.
For all this, my friends, I am grateful to God. Are you?