The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because of their grumbling and complaining, so how much longer are we going to allow ourselves to starve to death in the desert when God is calling us to the land of more than enough, the land filled with blessings, and the land which His Word promises?
Our journey will always be filled with stress and challenges; in fact Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have troubles.” What we choose to do in these seasons of troubles will define us and will test if we believe in the promises of God. Right after Jesus tells His disciples they will have troubles, He says, “But take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
Jesus speaks these words to His disciples after they had already forsaken and deserted Him, so they carry an extra meaning here; one that we must not miss. How many of us have proclaimed Jesus with our lips, but denied Him by our lifestyle? Imagine how the disciples must have felt when Jesus returned and you will begin to see how this passage points to the contrast between the life that all must lead, which is a life in this world, and a life that all do not lead, which is a life in Christ. All must live in the world and thus have trouble, but people may also live in Christ, and when they do, they have peace.
Our tendency to complain about our circumstances is an epidemic that has spread like a virus attacking each host; until it can leach onto the next person we dump our load on. I once read that people are garbage trucks driving around looking for someone to dump their garbage on. Instead of being victors in Christ, we have allowed ourselves to become victims of our own circumstances. However, if we would take our problems to God, He promises in Jeremiah 31:25: “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
If we are not careful, our tendency to complain opens the door to sin. Venting to God is completely fine, but if you are complaining to someone about something or someone they have no power to fix, you are sinning. Complaining is focused on finding faults, while wisdom is focused on finding solutions. The only thing complaining really does is show others how much you are not in control. For some, they believe language was created out of a deep desire to complain, but it was truly created to bring glory to God, and if we are all being honest, we always have far more to praise God for than we have to complain about.
Our complaining, when left unchecked, quickly leads to both self-pity and eventually rage, but when you take your worries to God, He will put His thoughts in your mind and He will put His song in your heart. Rather than fearing your inadequacies, rejoice in the Lord’s abundance and remember when you are weak, He is strong. He is a comforter to the brokenhearted and He promises to supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Great piece, Jeff! Years ago I came across this quote: “We can spend so much time trying to change our circumstances that we never see that God wants to change us in our circumstances before He can deliver us from them.”
That will preach! JD