“It’s easier to just do it myself,” I mutter. A dishtowel hangs from my hand like a tail swaying against my hip.
Chores, those supposedly helpful contributions are about to be my undoing. I re-order the haphazard pile of weeping plastic containers, dry them again, and rearrange the stack neatly in the right cupboard.
“Seriously,” I wonder, “is it even worth it if I have to re-do everything?”
Moses must have had a full dose of the parental I-might-as-well-just-do-it-myself syndrome when he led the children of Israel. They were as whiny and undependable as kids doing chores.
In Numbers 20, Aaron and Moses’ sister Miriam died. Circumstances were difficult. People complained. They and their animals needed water in the wilderness. They forgot the miraculous plagues, the pillar of cloud and fire, the splitting of the Red Sea and manna’s provision. Like little children tired and cranky, they grumbled.
“If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord!” they cried.
· Numbers 20:3 ·
Like a never-ending cycle, new accusations flew at Moses.
“Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place?”
“It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates.”
“And there is no water to drink!”
· Numbers 20:5 ·
Moses and Aaron, grieving the death of a beloved sister and harassed by the people, fell on their faces at the entrance of the tent of meeting. God in His shining glory met them there.
“Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water,” God commanded.
But Moses struck the rock.
There is in that frustrated gesture a place we have all been. It reveals a bigger issue. When the chores don’t get done right, when we feel we have given enough second chances, or those times we want to throw our hands up and just do it ourselves, we need to stop and listen. Pause and consider.
Moses did not trust God to handle those rebellious children of Israel. He showed it by not submitting to what God had commanded. He did himself what belonged to God to do in His way.
What seems like such a small, insignificant departure from God’s directive, displayed dishonor for God’s holiness.
“Because you did not trust in me enough
to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites,
you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
· Numbers 20:12 ·
As a result, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised land.
I can’t do this parenting thing myself, or the wife-ing, or the grandparenting. Despite the many times I look about me and think, I might as well just do it myself, I know my nature. I need continual acknowledgement of God’s holiness or I quickly lose sight. I grumble. I complain. Too often it shows what lies underneath.
Beneath my impatience, I neglect to trust His power in the mundane of repetitive teaching, instructing and guiding. I fail to bring purpose to persistence and refuse to humble myself first. I need to learn to honor His holiness in the chaos of my simple chores.
In my mundane laundry-filled days I’m grateful Jesus is much more patient with me than I deserve. When I am impatient and want to respond with irritation, it’s an opportunity to practice trust. Frustrating moments reveal my deep need of His help in each ordinary piece of life.
There will be many more weepy dishes in the future, but I picture a more patient reaction next time. Dried containers stacked in order, I hang the dish towel, turn off the kitchen light, and smile.
in the Quiver