Numbers 11:1 & 3
And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. … So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.
A complaining spirit is a consuming fire. It won’t cry out with the sons of Korah, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God!” It can’t face ostracism from church members like Paul and reply, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” It can’t weep like Joseph over the very brothers who caused his abuse and say, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good!” Because only the Taberah of thanksgiving is a germinative fire. Only gratitude can diffuse the seeds and advance the forest. The Taberah of bitterness is just a destructive fire. It never refines, only purges.
You may not be able to see through your present suffering just yet, friend. Glorification is an ongoing process after all. But look around! Count your blessings! Reflect on the relationships, hobbies, and addictions that once maimed you but are being mended by the Spirit. Remember the relief of that repentance. Think of the joy of the renewed vision and deepened humility and strengthened trust and resurrected mission you’ve been coming to understand more fully ever since. That’s what redemption does: it takes something dismantled, something in disrepair, and metamorphosizes it into something wonderful and useful again. But if we fail to see through the lens of our tribulations the glories they are producing, if we see trials as impediments to our happiness rather than invitations to deepened fellowship, then the landscape of our lives will tragically resemble the landscape of Numbers 11:1. It’ll be a scorched earth with little to show for it.
Say this out loud to the LORD right now: “I am the most fortunate soul in all the world because of the love and mercy You’ve poured to me through Christ Jesus!” And let that truth set your heart ablaze today!