“I have a good reason to complain!” How often have we spoken these words to try to justify our feelings! Complaining is a way of expressing our grief or pain or dissatisfaction. Sometimes we complain in a formal way, but more often it is a casual statement or attitude. And we know that everyone wants to complain—but no one wants to hear complaints! This is true of God as well as our fellow man. We do not think complaining is harmful, but God does not see it that way. Look what happened to Israel in the wilderness—almost all of them complained about what God was doing with them, and when they finally made it to the promised land, they were not permitted to enter! God got tired of their constant complaints.
It is our human tendency to create a distance between us and God because of our unbelief. Then we complain that He is distant from us! There are even people who truly believe in God who dishonor Him nevertheless because of their unbelief. How often they say nothing and are confused, when they should be praising God with thanksgiving and delight. Instead of complaining in unbelief, they should look to Jesus for the grace they need to help them fight unbelief. Then they will find that His grace is enough to handle whatever they need. The heavenly Father does not always take our trouble and temptations away like we want Him to. But He does gives us His grace in the meantime, so there is no reason for us to complain.
There are times when we treat God like He is just a machine to produce whatever we want. We also tend to treat His Son like He is just another worker for God in the midst of many others. But we have the wrong idea. We are not to be those who work for God at all—but vessels He can work through. He wants to be able to count on us to come through for Him, no matter how easy or hard the assignment is, and without always demanding an explanation from Him in advance. And He certainly does not want to hear us complain. It is His desire to use us to work through, like He was able to do with His Son.
Let’s confess right here and now that we are sinful beings, and whatever we complain about is much less than what we truly deserve. And we would be better off if we would do our complaining to God, instead of always complaining about Him! Why do we think we are entitled to complain if others do not treat us well, instead of recognizing how much more God treats us well?
Those who serve God can expect treatment like His Son received while here on earth, and not be surprised by it. Since God deals with us by His grace, we should recognize how He applies His grace to us and our situation. He provides us with His compassion and consideration, and He deals with us in the same way. Instead of griping and grumbling about how bad every little thing is, we have grounds to hope and expect that they will improve!
When we commit ourselves to God, He is able to keep us. Therefore, sin will not have dominion over us. Instead, God will give us rest, which He wanted to do for the Israelites headed for the promised land. They continually complained to Him about how bad their situation was. But they would have done better if they had complained about how bad their attitude was toward a loving God who was leading, guiding and protecting them all along the way! If only they had stopped complaining, and depended on God to help them through all the obstacles, He would have been able to deliver them and establish them in their new land. Whenever we complain to the Lord about how bad things are, consider this—we are the ones who ought to complain against ourselves for how bad we have allowed our hearts to become! When we reach this point, we will be able to truly realize that we have no reason to complain!