But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. (Ex. 17:3)

ISN’T IT FUNNY how contagious emotions are? It doesn’t take much to get a crowd worked up about an issue, a complaint, a celebration. Sports fans everywhere understand this concept very well. The ups and downs of wins and defeats during a soccer game, a tennis match, or a baseball game bring out the best and the worst in the fans. It’s even more intense when there is a direct connection, like a Little League parent, or a coach. Then the emotions are high and the need to win is overwhelming.

The children of Israel certainly had a vested interest in the ups and downs of survival. One minute they were happy and praising God for His provision. The next they were cursing Moses for leading them. They knew the rules when they started. They knew there would be defeat and hardships. When tough times came, the grumbling started. Just one voice at first, then many, and soon the roar of agony could be heard all over the desert.

Grumbling doesn’t have to spread through our group, overriding the work of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, and all the other fruit will win out when a spark of the Spirit weaves through a community of believers. When we join arms with our neighbors and dwell on the provision and not the turmoil, we will see the Promised Land.

Be the one in the crowd to speak love, joy, and peace.

Jan Cline is the author of three devotional books. She is a speaker and founder and director of a Christian writers’ conference in the Northwest.