Complains and the Book of Numbers

The Book of Numbers has shared a lot of insights as I read, reflect and allow its text to speak in me.  Something relatable and realistic in the text caught my attention — the difficulties, demands, complaints and hardships that the Israelites faced in their journey towards the Promise Land. I was moved into deep personal assessment when I tried to put myself in that situation and condition of the Israelites.

Upon assessment of myself through the Book of Numbers, I discovered and realized that I, too, also have the tendency to complain like the Israelites whenever hardships, demands and difficulties come and arise into my life.  Whenever I complain, it seemed that life is too small and too dark for me. I just only saw the negative effect of hardships, demands and difficulties rather than its light.  When I am too absorbed with my own complains and pessimistic tendencies, frustrations and discouragements subjugated and overwhelmed me which ceased me to be on a right focus, to be hopeful and to see the light in life. A recent example of this was during the New Year. I was submerged by my own complains when the deadline for the submission of the digital copy (word document and PowerPoint) of our project paper in Archaeology, which to be submitted on January 4, 2012, was moved to January 1. I really complained a lot because the submission was too early. I had not started doing my project paper at that time since we spent our holidays working for the sustenance of our community through caroling and Christmas Sharing for the poor children. I also caught up with rest so as to be fully recharged for the resume of class in DBCS by January 4, 2012. Generally, I didn’t really enjoy my Christmas break although there was an ample time for rest. I didn’t also enjoy the arrival of the New Year because of the pressure and the demand of finishing my project paper.  My mind was just preoccupied with my complains at that time. I was so hot-tempered and pressured just thinking about the submission date of my project paper.  From that experience, I had lost my focus in my studies.  I became frustrated and discouraged to continue persevering in my studies.

After that ‘great collapse’ though that I realized the wisdom behind the hardships, demands and difficulties that I experienced.  God allowed these to happen to me not to make me feel down and frustrated, but to see how far I can go and how responsible and committed in small things I can be.  Assessing myself after experiencing this, I realized that I became too absorbed with pessimism that I was not able to see the brighter side of what happened. Relating this experience to what I learned from the Book of Numbers, it seems that what I experienced is not far from what the Israelites experienced. The only difference is that after they complained against YHWH, they were punished and they were not allowed by God to enter the Promised Land.  It was too late also for them to realize that all the hardships, difficulties and demand that they experienced were all indicators of the great grace that YHWH wants to give them.  They were not able to see the positive side of the “great collapse” that they experienced.

To conclude, the Book of Numbers has taught me a lot of lessons to be pondered in life, most especially in handling my tendency to complain in a positive way.  Its insights made me open with the varieties of possibilities to be optimistic with hardships, demands and difficulties in life.  Truly, God works in mysterious way.  He allowed hardships, difficulties and demands to test us and looking at it in a positive way, there is wisdom behind these things.  At first, we condemn these things so we complain, but when we allow it to speak within us, God’s graciousness and love just works continuously even though we consider these as “nightmares” in our life.

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