From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” ~ Numbers 21:4-5 (NRSV)
Papa, Daddy of us all, we are hungry. Mommy, Mother to all that exists, we are thirsty. We know we are supposed to be grateful and to not complain, but we are sick and tired of coping and struggling and wondering when things will change. When will the pandemic be over? It seems never-ending when the record death toll in Brazil approaches 2,000 per day. When will war cease? Almost 240,000 people have died in Yemen’s civil war alone. When will famine and drought and flood and random chance stop killing us and causing endless suffering to so many? We mourn the senseless loss of 12 teenagers who drowned during a swimming outing with friends in Apam, Ghana. Why does it feel like you aren’t doing anything, O God? There is no food and no water.
But even in the same breath, we acknowledge that you do provide, even if we receive your provision with ungrateful and complaining hearts. You sustain us with moments of clear and beautiful weather. You give us minds for thinking and hands for creating new ways to solve problems, so that we can connect with family and friends via technology and so that we can actively work to end the pandemic with vaccines and masks. You fill the souls of so many individuals and groups with your love so that we can see inspiration and hope in their service. Keep before our eyes the truth of all the ways you break into our world and build your kingdom:
- Through Ahmed, a nine-year old in Taiz, Yemen, who teaches classes to his peers when teachers cannot travel through the war-torn city to reach the school;
- Through a camp in Tamil Nadu, India, that helps elephants that work in temples to recover from the stress of their work;
- Through the newly-released story of Naomi Adamu, a survivor of the Boko Haram abduction of the Chibok girls in Nigeria who resisted pressure from her captors to marry and convert to Islam and supported girls younger than herself through the ordeal;
- Through the police officers who defected from Myanmar into India rather than follow orders to shoot protestors during the recent military coup.
Continue to sustain us, even as we grumble, O God, and change our hearts so that we might receive your provision with joy and gratitude, sharing all that we have and all that we are with our neighbors and carrying your light into the world until your kingdom is fully realized and all dine at your banquet table. Amen.