Why is it when we get what we want we want what we had? I’ve seen it happen in various arenas. Trafficking victims are desperate for their freedom, yet when they escape the lifestyle they waffle between moving forward towards healing and returning to the horror they lived in before. We’re blown away when it happens. We don’t even begin to know how to respond to the way they glamorize their past lifestyle. They complain about the requirements and rules of the treatment centers or the size of the room they are given to live in while they’re going through the healing process. To us, it simply doesn’t make sense. They were captive before. Someone else told them what to do and when to do it. But they block out the horror, instead they remember the beautiful shoes and the Mac makeup their pimps bought them.
Before we judge them, let’s look at Numbers 11:1-6 when the Israelites try the patience of God by complaining about the food He provided for them. They reminisced about the various foods they had available to them in Egypt. They failed to remember they were held in bondage, required to work countless hours with a whip on their backs if they faltered or stepped out of line. Instead of praising God for what He did for them, they were busy complaining about what He hadn’t done for them.
We’re all guilty of doing the same thing from time to time. We get so focused on what we don’t have, we fail to see and acknowledge what we do have. We like to grumble and complain. Paul reminded the Philippians to “do everything without complaining or arguing” [Philippians 2:14].
This problem exists because of focus. When we have our eyes fixed on ourselves we take on a posture of entitlement. Everything becomes “I’ and “me” focused. We begin to find fault with everything, becoming dissatisfied. However, when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we begin to recognize how great He is in comparison to us and we can’t help but praise Him and thank Him for all He has done for us [Hebrews 12:2, Psalm 48:1].
So I ask you, sweet friend, what are you looking at? Are you looking at yourself, therefore, grumbling and complaining about all you don’t have or are you looking at Jesus and praising Him with every breath you take? What you have or don’t have is all a matter of perspective. Where are you focused today? How do you need to adjust your focus?