14 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— 18 and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.
It seems like some Christian writers and preachers…especially those who’s quote often appear in Facebook memes believe that if we are truly following Christ, the world will always be rosy, filled with reasons for joy, and positive feelings, where each day is lived cheerfully as we go “…on our way rejoicing” in the light of Christ; leaving one feeling as if any negative feelings or discouragement we may experience is somehow un-Christian.
I know that I am probably being way too critical of these “Sunny Day” Christians…after all there is a lot to what they say, as a positive attitude does help us to get through hard times, and having faith that we are walking in the light of the resurrection is a reason for rejoicing, a reason for hope!
That said, not every day is sunny, and to expect our lives of faith to be one long stroll along the Yellow Brick Road is a bit unrealistic; for if you remember the story, there were many perils along the that road, including those pesky flying monkeys! As single parents, I think that it is not too much of a stretch to assume that we have had experience with a few flying monkeys as we have traveled the road of parenthood. Although our faith in God’s grace may be strong, there are times when we find it hard to face every challenge cheerfully and without frustration!
Our children can try our patience, from the time they are toddlers and demand our constant attention, and the sacrifice of our time and some of own interests, to when they are teens and need our guidance all the more, but don’t seem want it…but instead give us a few gray hairs, sleepless nights, and may even cause us to feel dread every time the phone lights up showing an unfamiliar number!
At times like these, when things don’t seem to be going our way, or when we feel as if we have been given the short end of the stick, our frustrations can build, and as we become more irritable there can be plenty of arguing: with our kids, with the ‘other’ parent, strangers, friends, and even ourselves. We may believe that these arguments are mostly justified; only about standing up for ourselves, making our point or ensuring that we do the best for our kids! However, when we get down to the truth, many of these arguments (not all) can stem from our deep feelings of fear and dissatisfaction with life—and can be more of a way of voicing our complaints.
And we how we can complain…or should I say: “murmur”?
When we fall to arguing and murmuring we can forget about the good things in life, the reasons to rejoice, to find joy in the everyday adventure of living, and of raising our children as single parents! Here is where the message of these “Sunny Day Christians” can actually help us, by reminding us of the glory and beauty of God’s love for us…and of the joy of living as children of God!
And our good news is found in today’s reading: it’s that because Jesus lived and loved as one of us, and understands what it is like to be part of a family, to have friends, and to have arguments, and even complaints…and because he does, we are forgiven for our murmuring, even when it is about our own children! Not only are we forgiven, but we are also given hope! Hope in the presence of God’s love as given through Christ, and as shared together, with those we love and who share our faith! For it is when we share our faith together that we are reminded that most of our days are sunny…that the storm clouds will pass, the flying monkeys were defeated, and that we really do walk in the light of the resurrection which can turn even our darkest day bright!
Let us Pray:
God, you know that as humans, we do tend to murmur and argue…especially when unhappy with the path of our lives, or overwhelmed by responsibilities. Please help us to turn to you for hope and comfort when we find ourselves murmuring and dissatisfied, or just plain frustrated. Thank you that we are never alone in our struggles, and that most of our days are sunny and filled with reasons for joy and praise, instead of murmuring! Help us to share the good news of your love and grace with each other, so that we may all be strengthened for our journey as single parents, and that you’re the light of your love will shine on and turn even our darkest days bright!