“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled.” “These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters.” Numbers 11:1; Jude 16
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Ephesians 4:29,31; Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 4:6
Screens drone on with deep colors swathing the country’s heartland. Animated meteorologists warn with tones tinted with urgency and dread about snow and frigid temperatures. Chatter heightens and complains about the cold, the threat of weather, none of which we can control or change. As I am carried high in the plane, suspended in thick grey-white clouds, the storm could seem ominous if I let the negative talk seep in and unnerve me. But when I land, I am immediately taken in by happy white flakes blowing and blanketing the earth with breath-taking beauty. I cannot help but smile in wonder.
As with so many things in life, we can tend to take the ‘slopportunity’ to hate what is occurring, or fear what is coming, to rant, to ‘slop’ on others, to trash talk our circumstances, to dwell on the worst, the inconvenience, the discomfort and ‘can you believe they did that?!’ But in every slopportunity, we are given equal ‘opportunity’ to accept what is before us with optimism, to marvel at snow storms with grateful hearts, to wonder at the High God’s creative purposes, to try to understand why people behave and react as they do, and show compassion. When muddled in the low lands, we as God’s children are called to lift the atmosphere.
When caught in conversation that has hit the lowest common denominator and idled there, what will we do to elevate it? How can I heighten a low view of God, and turn a complaining into thankfulness, or at least a more positive spin? With what words do I fill my vocabulary? Instead of going along with complaining, or castigating another, or nit picking about all that was not up to my par in a situation, do I have the guts and wherewithal to inject the fruit of a grateful heart, a positive outlook, a different sense of understanding? Are there questions I can ask that steer in a fresh direction? In every sloppy storm there is beauty to behold, and sometimes I am the one appointed to unveil it.
Lord, please guide my thinking to see things as You do. Fill me with Your words of light that puncture the prevailing darkness with Your glory and greatness at every opportunity.