Friday, September 14, 2012

Definition: Complaining

So in continuation of my previous post, I've been thinking a lot about what complaining actually is.  I was reading the Psalms lately and in several of them, it looks like David is complaining:

Psalm 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? 
Psalm 11:1-3 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? 
Psalm 13:1-3  How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? 
Psalm 22:1-2 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 

Whoa!  Where did that come from? David is a man after God's own heart, and he complains and doubts God?

Is he really complaining?  Psalm 13 puts it the most succinctly:

How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
What I've discovered is that the focus is what matters here.  Complaining is completely focused on oneself, looking for sympathy, pity, more special treatment, a justification, and a judge to make it all "fair".  The children of Israel complained. Why? Because they were tired of what God had given them, they wanted comfort, they wanted Moses to give them give them sympathy.  I call it looking for the "aww, baby" syndrome.

But we, as people,  really do have problems! We have health needs, irritating family members, loved ones who don't know the Lord, friends who make wrong choices.  There's bad hair days and just plain old bad days.  But what is our focus when we are praying about these issues?  

God uses everything to bring our focus back to Him. So, we can give Him our burdens, He welcomes it! (1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.) But our focus should be steadfastly fixed on Him, learning what it is He has for us.  Contrary to popular belief, we don't just learn about our God in the 15 minutes we take for devotions, He's always there, always drawing us!

And He has given us the gift of godly Christian friends who listen to us and bear our burdens as well. It is such a comfort to have friends who join in with us in entreaties to the Most High, to have friends who point you back to the One who is in control of the tough situation, to have friends who are willing to ask the tough questions in order to take the focus off yourself and place it back on the Marvelous One. (Galatians 6:2, Matthew 18:20)

When we have the correct definition of Sin, and a perspective on Grace, life is so much the better for it.

Because of Him,

1 comment:

  1. That is so encouraging right now! Not complaining is so difficult when you feel stressed. The Lord has kept me focused on the task at hand and has reminded me that it is all for His glory, no matter how small the task. Thanks for the encouragement!