Have you ever been to the desert? What is a desert like? Look at this picture of the Sinai Desert together.
Life isn’t always easy, but God is always with us.
This is the lesson the Hebrews learned after they were rescued by God out of slavery in Egypt. What happened after God parted the Red Sea is one of the most surprising things in your Bible. After God did all those great miracles and rescued his people from the evil Pharaoh, we might expect him to lead them straight home to the Promised Land. Do you remember what the Promised Land was? (the land God promised to Abraham and his family forever – Israel today)
But God didn’t do that. Instead, he led them into the desert. Into a place without food and without water. How long can you go without eating? Without drinking?
The Bible says that the Hebrews went three days into the desert without water. Listen to how their journey is described here in Exodus 15:
Exodus 15:22-25. 22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
Have you ever grumbled or complained about something? Do you think God likes it when we complain? Do you think your parents like it when you grumble or whine?
I don’t think so either.
Why do we complain, and grumble, and whine about things? Because we forget that even though things don’t always go our way, God is always with us.
You see God wants to use the times when we don’t get what we want to teach us to trust him more and love other people more than we love ourselves.
And God wants to use the times that we don’t get what we want to remind us to be thankful for what he has already given us.
But mostly God wants to use the times that we don’t get what we want to help us to want more of Jesus instead of more of whatever that other thing is (even if it’s a good thing).
Life with Jesus isn’t always going to be easy. But Jesus can take the hard things in our lives and use them to teach us to be more like him. More kind. More caring. More sharing. More trusting. And that’s the most important one. We need to learn to trust that because Jesus died for our sins, one day he will turn everything hard into something great.
At Mara, even though the Hebrews complained, God was kind. He told Moses to throw a tree into the bitter water and it became sweet tasting and good to drink. Yum! This is what Jesus does for us. His love for us is like that tree. When his love comes into our hearts we know that we don’t have to complain anymore or try to get our own way. We can trust that God loves us and that’s enough to turn us from bitter to sweet.
Because of Jesus we know that God will use all the hard things in life to help us trust him more.
With Jesus we don’t have to complain when things don’t go our way.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Make a list of 3 things you could complain about today and a list of 3 things you could enjoy doing today (For example: cleaning up your room or doing school work). Talk about how the same things could be on both lists. How can we turn things into something to enjoy instead fo something to complain about? How does trusting God help us.
Watch how Mary Poppins does this below (note: she doesn’t identify the “spoonful of sugar” but we all know it’s Jesus – wink, wink).
I know that life isn’t always easy but that you are always with me. Help me to remember this each time a feel like complaining.
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