The Problem For You May Prove To Be No Difficulty To Others

Last week Ed, my neighbor next door, had a good laugh at my problem. I had laryngitis and my voice was no higher than a whisper. My neighbor was certain that it was no problem to others if they couldn’t hear me. He was convinced many would see it as a welcome relief. When he learned we were leaving for camping at Thunder Bay, Ontario, he had another laugh. He said that I would be a quiet meal for starving misquotes and that I wouldn’t be able to yell if a bear showed up at our campground for supper. I whispered to Ed that the Saskatchewan misquotes have been so thick and greedy I have no blood left to give to their Ontario cousins. I also said that when it comes to facing a hungry bear in camp, I’m pretty confident that my breath could scare a bear off, as I’ve been told that my breath is like being sprayed by a skunk. Ed said that it was too hard trying to listen to me with laryngitis, but he always likes to see me go away. When I said, “Do you mean you like to see me go away for holidays?” He said, “Okay sure, then too,” as he left for his house.

Laryngitis is a small problem compared to the many folks in our community burdened with flood clean up and repairs to their homes. How good it is when we can view our problems as being resolved in a matter of weeks or days or months. When one reads the Bible, problems are often long term with no relief or resolve quickly. When Joseph brought his father and his whole family to Egypt, they enjoyed the blessing of welcome from the Pharaoh as they settled in Egypt.  For a time, the Israelites prospered and times were good in Egypt but after Joseph’s death and other Pharaohs were ruling time became awful for the Israelites with centuries of being enslaved and treated harshly. The people of God came to have slave masters over them, and their lives were bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar, and all kinds of work in the field. Things went from bad to even worse when the Pharaoh ordered the Israelites to throw every baby boy born to them to be thrown into the Nile River. Only, if they gave birth to baby girls could the baby live.

The Bible speaks of the Israelites being in Egypt 400 years with the majority of them as slaves subjected to ruthless treatment. In those long and bitter years the Israelites called out to God, and he did rescue them through Moses. Their escape from slavery was met with times of thanklessness and grumbling. Their release from slavery didn’t keep them from complaining about the leadership of Moses and God. When times were terrible as slaves in Egypt, God’s people complained and when the times got better the people still grumbled, as if, they couldn’t get whining out of their system. Isn’t it true that we sometimes seem to have 400 years of complaining in ourselves? Why is it that we can usually find a good reason to grip daily? Can we be thankful without God’s help?

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