“Correct me, Yahweh, but with moderation”

(Jeremiah 10.2)

My doctor back home is a very insightful person.
He once remarked that
“The nastiest sickness in life is not physical.
It is a psychological and even spiritual, if you want.
It comes under different names – whining, complaining, nitpicking..,
It is vexing because it irritates the person who is sick with it
and everyone else who happens to be around!”
He was right, of course.

The trouble is that everyone seems to be carrying this bug,
I sometimes even wonder whether it is part of mankind’s make-up,
a part of our DNA as humans!
You find people who complain because it is hot, others because it is cold,
Men complain because ‘she only cares about her mother and the kids’.
Women complain because ‘he only cares about work and the internet’.
Parents complain because the kids lack respect towards the seniors.
Others complain because of the awful conditions at work.
Some say that everything is going bad in the islands.
Others – rather few - complain because all is well the islands.

No breathing space.
Many of us wake up in the morning and they start whining.
Many go back to bed and again … ‘life is dreadful…pains, snoring, mosquitoes, air conditioning not working properly…’
A whole list why life stinks.

The sad thing is that we get nothing by complaining
except wasting the little precious energy we have.
The book of Proverbs is very laconic:
“better to live in a desert land than with a woman who complains!”

And let us face it.
Complaining is not just a mental infirmity.
It is also symptomatic of our little faith!
It reveals the muddled idea we have of God.
Is God a good Father or not?

If He is a good Father then He gives us what is best.
Among this ‘best’, there are also corrections…
No responsible father ever fails from correcting his children.
It is correction that steers us constantly on the right road.

God also corrects us.
Through the events that He gives us.

Those who put their hope in the family
believing that family is everything,
God allows things to happen to them
(wife dies, husband leaves, children get married and they hardly come to visit)
so that they may realize that their security is false.
It is not true that the family is everything: God is everything.

Those who think that money solves all problems
and that money can make them taste heaven on earth,
God permits something to happen to them
(they are robbed, the bank goes bankrupt, they lose their job)
so that they may learn that money is like smoke and the morning dew.
The Pope commenting on the recent world wide financial crisis, said
“We are now seeing, in the collapse of major banks, that money vanishes, it is nothing.
All these things that appear to be real are in fact secondary.
Only God’s words are a solid reality.”

Those who place their hope in health,
because health is so important in life
and take all sorts of drugs and vitamins
become suddenly ill or have an accident
and they are forced to look beyond this temporal existence.

All this happens not because God is jealous
or because He wants us to suffer.
But simply because He knows that if we do not seek His kingdom first
we are putting ourselves in a hell of tribulations.
It is like someone wanting to go uphill pushing a cart wheel,
comments St John of the Cross.
As you tread along, life becomes heavier and heavier.

On the other hand, the one who manages to put God at the center,
will enjoy just everything… money, health, family, life.

So no point in complaining when things do not go
the way we want them to go.
It is just our own God trying to keep us on the right track.
Behind the events
there is the mind and the heart of Someone who loves us.

“The word that came to Jeremiah
from Yahweh as follows,
‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house,
and there I shall tell you what I have to say’.
So I went down to the potter’s house,
and there he was, working at the wheel.
But the vessel he was making came out wrong,
as may happen with clay when a potter is at work.
So he began again and shaped it into
another vessel, as he thought fit.
Then the word of Yahweh came to me as follows,
‘House of Israel, can I not do to you
what the potter does?
Yahweh demands.”

(Jeremiah 18.1-5)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.