One recent Monday, I really needed an attitude adjustment. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it until Tuesday. The short story is that, after a two week absence from the office, I walked in to find major water damage and massive amounts of multi-colored mold from a catastrophe originating in the apartment over me. I took action, placing calls to my insurance agent and the landlord—but I couldn’t get any helpful response. Then I started complaining to my close circle and beyond. I found ways to weave it into the conversation at every turn. I was frustrated—that uncomfortable combination of mad and sad, with some fear and a sense of injustice mixed in, that always leaves me feeling stuck. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon Tuesday, after more wasted hours of getting nowhere, that I realized, “Maybe it is me that needs to straighten up here . . . .”
There is a man in the Bible that I like to think of as “the griper.” Habakkuk was a prophet, but more often than not, he was a bearer of bad news. Woe is this, woe is that. He really couldn’t see much good going on in the city. He cried out against violence and injustice, and he struggled with reconciling what he was seeing around him with his sense of God as a good and pure everywhere-present entity that doesn’t recognize evil as real or powerful. The struggle between what he knew about God and what his eyes and ears told him about his circumstances was apparent in his words, “Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? . . . You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:3, 13, New King James Version).
I told myself to hush up with the fussing, and listen for the message that divine good, God, was in control of this situation.
But Habakkuk had an awakening from his frustration and it started with a prayer (see Habakkuk, chap. 2). He stopped griping long enough to listen. He heard an assurance from God that the good he hoped for wasn’t far from him and that it wouldn’t be long before he would see the change. He also heard that he needed to quit complaining. God told him, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). From that point on, the book of Habakkuk changes. The dirge of woes becomes a psalm of praise (see Habakkuk, chap. 3). Habakkuk was finally able to see the good unfolding all around him.
Around 5 pm Tuesday, after a second day of griping, I thought of Habakkuk and these words came to mind: “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). I told myself to hush up with the fussing, and listen for the message that divine good, God, was in control of this situation. I began to pray to know that I was governed by a divine Principle of good and that I didn’t need to fear either the process or the outcome of dealing with the damage. That is when I found a message on my answering machine that had probably arrived while I was on the phone complaining to a friend. It was the apartment owner upstairs wanting to help me file the claim. He came down immediately. He had searched out all the insurance forms for me already. We took photos, filled out the forms together, and went to the insurance company. Everything went from a complete standstill to rapid forward movement.
Ahhhhh . . . the Lord, the divine Principle of good, is in His “holy temple” (active and available in human consciousness), no matter what the outward scene looks like! Let all my future griping keep silence before that fact.
Michelle Nanouche is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Paris, France.
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