I had come within a literal quarter inch of having no more socks to pick up, no more shirts to iron, no more toothpaste tubes squeezed in the middle, and no more cough drop wrappers lying by the (missed) trash can, and I was so glad! If this is the worst trial we have to go through, I will never complain again, I confidently affirmed.
One year, two months, and ten days later I got irritated over a pair of socks. Later that same day the water heater sprang a leak. We live in Florida out in the country, it was summer, and we own a "manufactured home," which is sales-speak for trailer. Nothing fits right off the shelf and often must be ordered. Repairmen will sometimes refuse to travel this far out, and when they do it costs plenty. The only way to stop the leaking (actually pouring) water heater until it was fixed was to turn off the water to the entire house.
The next day the air conditioner quit. Did I mention we live in Florida and it was summer and in a trailer you have seven foot ceilings and no attic space so it is always 10 degrees hotter inside than out—where it was 95 with matching humidity, which meant a heat index of about 110.
So what did I do, beginning with those socks? Complain! What happened to all those confident assertions?
I have always had great disdain for the Israelites. How could they have possibly been unfaithful to God after all He did for them? How could they possibly "murmur" (complain) as I Corinthians 10 accuses? Surely they were the most ungrateful, hardheaded people who have ever lived. And what did Paul say about them a few verses later? Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition…(1Cor 10:11). MY admonition? I could never be like those people. Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1Cor 10:12).
Perhaps I have been a little too hard on those people, a little too Pharisaical. "Thank you, Lord, that I am not like THEM." But I am--over and over and over. And aren't we all?
The disciples rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for Him. And here I can't even put up with something that has absolutely nothing to do with persecution for my faith. He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: (Luke 16:10). If I can't manage the small, I certainly won't manage the things of greater importance.
It only took a year for things to be back to "normal" for me, complaining, that is. Pay attention: the lesson learned from one bad scare won't last if it doesn't cause a change in heart altogether, along with a daily renewing of that change. I would certainly hate for the Lord to decide I need to go through it all again.
I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD (Jer 29:18-19).