Fast from Complaining

Many people choose to fast during the Season of Lent, the “40 days” between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. But instead of giving up candy, red meat, or … this Lent I am working on fasting from complaining, from discouragement, from overspending, from judging others, from anger and hatred, and from resentment and bitterness. But instead of merely turning away from these vices, I am focusing on virtues I want to enhance: appreciating blessings, recognizing opportunities, investing in people, identifying my strengths, loving enemies, and forgiving others.

In the 17th chapter of Exodus, the people quarrel with Moses and test the LORD, complaining that Moses has led them out of Egypt and into the desert to die of thirst. Modern advertising takes advantage of human thirst for things that might provide salvation. Rarely will an ad show the benefits of a particular product over its competitors. Instead advertisements portray a lifestyle we might seek imply that if we buy their product, we will have the lifestyle we seek.

God answered their grumblings telling Moses to strike a particular rock with the staff he had used to part the Red Sea. This staff is symbolic of past times when God had answered their cries and blessed them with freedom from slavery in Egypt, with escape from Pharaoh’s army, and with Manna and quails to eat.

Poussin, Nicolas - Moses Striking Water from the Rock - 1649
Poussin, Nicolas – Moses Striking Water from the Rock – 1649

God continues to bless us every day. To fast from complaining we need to focus on the God’s blessings so we might see beyond shortages that generate complaints, to name those slivers of joy we experience each day that will help us through times of trouble and to tell others of our God-sightings to help our neighbors recognize that God is with us each and every day.

When have you experienced God’s blessing this week?

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