Monday, August 19, 2013

Temper Tantrums

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?  

Do you feel like perhaps you have more on your plate than you could possibly handle?  From the moms, dads, grandparents, kids, single people and just about everyone I talk to these days, you are not alone.  We live in a time and society where more is expected of us than ever before. 

Everything you do takes more than you have to give, and there are very few people, jobs, or activities that are willing to settle for anything less than 110%. Everything seems to take more time, more money and more commitment than any one person, (or 3 people honestly) can possibly give.  

If you are one of the minority who have carefully and intentionally attempted to balance the chaos of job, family, activities, etc., you can still be unexpectedly caught in the overwhelmed category by life events that are out of your control.  Health issues, job loss, cutbacks, and aging parents can cut into our carefully arranged and controlled lives and send it into chaos in the blink of an eye.  Surely this is just a sign of our times and our culture right?  I mean, surely we have it so much worse than any other era before us right?  

Moses might disagree.  

He was a man who knew what it was to be overwhelmed.  Moses was pretty content living his life out in Midian, when God called him to do something he did not ask to do, he did not want to do, nor was he trained to do.  But he did it none the less.  He saved the people of Israel, led them out of slavery, and to the Promise Land.  But it wasn't exactly a life of ease.  At one point along the way, honestly I am guessing there were several points along the way, Moses just about lost it.  I read about it today in Numbers 11:10-15.

The Israelites have left Egypt and slavery behind them.  They are wondering through the desert heading to the Promise Land.  God has already proven Himself to them numerous times, there was of course the infamous parting of the Red Sea.  He has sent down manna from heaven for food,  produced water from a rock, not to mention the 10 plagues on Egypt that somehow missed the Israelites all together.  Yes, God has proven himself over and over and over again.  But yet again, the Israelites are not happy, they spend their days complaining to Moses.  I know how draining it can be to listen to 3 kids wine and complain, I can only take it for a short amount of time, before they all get sent to their rooms! Moses got to listen to people of every family (this would be thousands and thousands of people) each at the entrance of their tent, wailing.  Let me just tell you that this would have resulted in the worlds biggest time-out had I been in charge, but I am guessing that is why God chose Moses and not me, and why I have 3 kids and not 4 (forget the thousands!)

All their wailing of course angered God, who had graciously provided for them, and now Moses is stuck in the middle.  And as all good parents can relate too, Moses had a moment.  Admit it, you know what I am talking about...we have all had "moments"! 

Moses cries out to God, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?  Did I conceive these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms...I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.  If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now..."

Okay, you know how toddlers will get upset and start throwing their very best temper tantrum right in front of you and you have to bite your lip to keep from laughing at them because it is just too funny.  That is kind of my image of Moses here.  Not because it is laughable and not because he isn't fully justified in feeling this way, just because, well it's a little over dramatic, don't you think?

Don't get me wrong!  I ABSOLUTELY understand how frustrated, overwhelmed and just plain DONE Moses is right now.  I have been there, not with thousand of wailing Israelites but you know 3 crabby kids can feel like thousands of wailing Israelites!  

Honestly, this rant from Moses, gives me unexplainable peace.  Moses was overwhelmed.  Not by a position he put himself into, but by a position God put him in.  And Moses is ticked, and he gets mad at God and he tells God about it.  And do you know what God does?  He loves Moses.  He loves Moses right through his tantrum.  He lets Moses get it all out and then God tells him what he needs to do next.  God shows him how to divide up his labor and his burden, God provides 70 elders to walk beside Moses, to help him with this overwhelming job.

I love that my God is so big that I can get mad, throw a temper tantrum right in his face and he will love me through it.  And then, if I let him, he will even help me solve my problem.  I can't tell you the number of people he has put in my life that help me carry my burdens.  

I don't know what is overwhelming you right now.  But I'm guessing something is.  All I can tell you is to take it to God.  Even if you are just done, ticked off and DONE!  Especially then.  Take it to God.  Get it all out.  Trust me he can take your temper tantrum (and I promise He won't laugh).  And when your tantrum is done, listen to God and he will help you.  He will put people in your life that will help you carry your burden if you let them.