Why do humans complain? Far too often, it seems that when things do not go our way, when we are tired, or most typically, when we simply take our eyes off of Christ, we are tempted to grumble.
“And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:17)
Grumbling and complaining is evidence of a wrong way of looking at life. God gives true peace to all who trust Christ for forgiveness. When we grumble, what we are really saying is that either 1) God doesn’t really exist or 2) He’s not doing a good job, both of which are absolutely false. God does exist, and He is perfect in all He is and does, both in my life and in the lives of others. Grumbling, on the other hand, stems from discontent, which I experience when I place myself in the place of God by presuming to be able to judge better than He what is necessary.
The Bible teaches, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15) I Corinthians 10:10-13 warns, “[let us not] complain, as some of them [the Israelites] also complained, and were destroyed…Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
If I grumble because my body hurts, it is because I assume it would be better if it not hurt. On the surface this might seem to be true, but perhaps I need this pain to become the person God wants me to become. St. Paul, arguably the greatest of the apostles, was told, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” when he asked God to take away the “thorn in his flesh.” If I complain when others seem to be accomplishing important things in life while I am simply doing the mundane, I am criticizing God as distributor of not only ministries, but also the gifts He gives us. Furthermore, not only am I mistrusting God, I am also failing to take into consideration His timing. It may simply not be the right moment. Frequently, however, the biggest error we are guilty of is judging by this world’s standard.
Caring for a parent who is increasingly failing or otherwise in need may seem like a waste of time, but Jesus said, “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Staying home with my children so I can convey the truth of the Biblical world view in addition to preparing them academically may not make for wonderful bragging opportunities, but God commands us to “…teach them diligently to your children, and…talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”(Deuteronomy 6:7)
Convincing a spouse not to throw in the towel just because we don’t always feel like we are soul mates may seem an uphill battle and just not worth it, but the Bible says, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up [encourage] love and good works [good behavior]” (Hebrews 10:24) and “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce.” (Malachi 2:16a)
Ultimately, this world sees a name in a paper or on the news, a political office won, a book published, a degree earned, a position acquired. And while these things are not necessarily wrong, Jesus taught His followers to “…lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21) God sees things differently than we do, and while this should not necessarily discourage us from seeking an education or a position, the service we offer to “the least of these” may end up accruing treasures far greater than that which wins popular acclaim.
Thank You that You do exist. Thank You that Your judgment and timing is perfect. Help me see with Your eyes, and work for the treasures in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.