Let's face it. It's beyond easy to complain when you're in a wilderness season. We get frustrated with what we don't have. And in the case of the grumbling, complaining Israelites in Numbers, we often complain with the provision that we do have.
I'm not sure if you're in the wilderness now. Maybe you're in a trying, difficult time. It seems as if nothing is going right. Your prayers are falling on deaf ears, it seems. Where is God and why has He forsaken you?
What not to do
Don't complain. Easier said than done, I know. But with all that God had brought the Israelites through, they complained endlessly. They were so indignant that they even wanted to return to the same place they were delivered from. Look at Numbers 14:2-3. "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Well God had a response for that. In verses 11-12, God said 11 “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”
In the wilderness, it'd be best to not complain. It'd be best to count it all joy, be at peace, and keep your faith. God has never left you. He's never failed you, and He won't stop now. We could always see our circumstances differently if we truly chose to. Complaining displays your lack of trust in God and His sovereignty. Now is not the time to question God. Now is not the time to be disobedient. Now is not the time to become an enemy of the Lord.
I think of Job 38 when the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He wanted to know, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Job 38:4. In many churches, congregants are taught to never question God. Even in a lot of our households. It's what we're told. It's just something you never do. But let's be honest, this isn't biblical. No where does it say that we can't question God. However, know that you may not get an answer or you may not like the answer.
How to survive
God often grows quiet when we're in the wilderness. And it's only because we're to hold on to the promises already spoken to us. For avid Bible readers you are aware of the countless promises He's made, and we know that He'll fulfill them.
He promises to never leave or forsake us
He says He has good plans for us to prosper
He said He'll meet our needs according to His glorious riches
He said He'll be with us even until the end
He said He'd provide
He said there'd be blessings for obedience
And with these promises, there's another: He is not man that He shall lie. How hard it is to keep these at the forefront when there's chaos, world hunger, child molestation, violence, poverty, suicide, mental illness, financial strains, cancer, wayward children, discord in marriages, etc. But we serve a God that sits high and looks low. Know that only the strong survive. James says that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Hebrews 10 says you'll receive the promises of God when you persevere and do His will.
And while you wait
Trust Him. Worship Him. Praise Him. Remember that in Acts, Paul and Silas praised God while they were imprisoned. And it broke their chains. Many of us are one shout, one dance, and one prayer away from breakthrough. But we must renew our minds and praise Him.
Consider it joy when you face any trials. Be strengthened with power according to His glorious might. Romans 12:12 says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." This is how you wait while you're in a tough season. This is how you show trust in God. This is how you believe that He'll deliver you from the enemy (and even from yourself). Many of us are bound by our own chains. We're bound by chains that are the results of our mistakes, our complaining, our lack of trust, bad decisions, and poor choices. But it doesn't mean we won't be delivered. God rescues His children. He restores His children. He elevates, promotes, and delivers His children. I would dare you to repent, receive His grace and mercy, and give a shout of praise. Those are the sounds that He wants to hear.