Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving . . . “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt. . . But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Numbers 11:4-6
This time (late winter) every year, I find myself in a state of discontent. The combination of little sunlight, cold weather, and few outdoor activities conspires to darken my mood and I find myself cruising the internet, looking at summer vacation spots. As spring still seems so far off, my restlessness grows, and my patience dwindles. I want change. Any change.
The Israelites too, in today’s passage, suffered from wanderlust. Drifting in the wilderness and eating manna every day, took its toll. They grew weary and began to pine for their days of slavery. Remember when we were slaves in Egypt? Three meals a day and a roof over our heads. Yes, there were beatings and we were slaves, but still . . . Good times . . .
I do this. Though God has been gracious in allowing me to put life back together in recovery, I grow restless. The joy I once found in sobriety has turned into disinterest. I have not yet begun to long for the good old days of being enslaved to my addiction, but I must take care in my wanderlust. Daily, I must continue to get up every morning and point my life towards God, finding my purpose and joy in Him above all.
In our discontent, we turn our gaze to ourselves and our own appetites. How can I make myself feel better? The temptation is to treat our restlessness with the instant gratification found in the flesh nature. When we feel the futility of longing for better days, we may turn to donuts, sex, alcohol, money or stuff.
When I find myself in this state, I must daily, choose to do whatever it takes to turn my gaze to God. For me, I must continue to get up early every day to read and pray. I must exercise my body and my mind. I must choose gratitude for my faith, sobriety, family, and job. I must continually focus, not on my discontent, but on God. Better days may be coming, but if I have the wisdom to see it, better days are here now.