Scripture Reflections @ CEC by Cindy Graff
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” anonymous
Scripture & Devotion: Ecclesiastes 5:2-3
Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
As a dream comes when there are many cares,
so the speech of a fool when there are many words…
Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.
Therefore stand in awe of God.
Grumbles and gratitude
My son and his fianceé have a wonderful one-year-old Welsh corgi named Kipper. That dog has more personality packed into his long, little body than you can imagine. Most of the time, Kipper is delightful, happy, and ready to go on any adventure, but once in a while, especially if you ask him to move from a comfortable spot or want him to undertake some unfamiliar task that he is unsure about, he makes a noise that can only be described as “corgi grumbles.” Evan tells me it is a common characteristic of the breed. It is sort of a cross between a huff of exasperation and a few short syllables of what sounds very much like muttered scolding.
I have felt like that at times in recent weeks. Like Kipper, I have been tempted to grumble at my lord and master about many things during the pandemic that has forced the world to stay at home. For example, my birthday, which fell on Easter Sunday, passed without being able to visit in person with my friends at church or my children (who are sheltering in Portland and Astoria) or even to celebrate by going out to dinner at a restaurant. So many events I had been looking forward to, including my nephew’s wedding, have been canceled, and now my son and his fianceé are having to decide what to do about their August wedding plans. My quilt guild can’t meet, the summer Olympics are postponed, there is no baseball (either the OSU Beavers or the Phillies), and the ice hockey season got cut short just when my Philadelphia Flyers were poised for a playoff spot on the road to a possible Stanley Cup.
Of course, all these things pale in comparison with the very dire situations many people are facing: life-threatening illness, depression, unemployment, the inability to put food on the table or to pay bills. By comparison, the complaints that I would present to God seem so insignificant, like the speech of the fool mentioned in the passage of scripture above. That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t share with God my hurts and frustrations, but dwelling on disappointment can only lead me into paths of resentment, bitterness, and further distress. Even so, I often fall victim to the temptation to grumble about my circumstances. At those times, it is hard for me to remember that “much dreaming” about what has been lost and “many words” complaining about it are “meaningless.
It often takes a hardship or crisis of some sort to enable us to appreciate our blessings and to see God clearly as the one of whom we need to “stand in awe” at all times. I believe that God wants us to view difficulties as opportunities to practice gratitude and to look to him for help in developing perspective. As Solomon says, his vision from heaven is so much higher and greater than ours here on earth. When he asks us to move out of our comfortable space and into unfamiliar situations, he does it so that we can discover truths about himself and about our relationship with him. My challenge to myself is to remember these things, try to grumble less, and learn to trust him more.
Continue to lead us to a greater trust in You, Your purposes and Your plans for us.