I totally surprised myself this morning. I woke up and it was cold, windy and raining hard and my first thought was how good it was that we had the rain to water the earth.
Now, us English are known for talking about the weather and I then realised just how often we complain about it and say what a miserable day etc, and although I try not to complain out loud I realised how often my first thought is a complaint…oh no, it’s raining!!
‘No Sharon, this day is beautiful and the rain is beautiful because God has sent it and we need it!’
So I’ve sat here with my Bible listening to the soothing sound of the rain falling on the conservatory roof, thankful that we have a warm, cosy, dry home, thinking of our friends in their mission house in Africa and all the hundreds of bugs the rains bring in and the poor people in their mud huts with leaking roofs, counting my blessings.
Then I began to think about the children of Israel…
‘How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me.’
Friends, that’s me, too often that’s me, how long will God bear with this evil complaining heart?
Each time we grumble we complain about what God has given us, if us mums grumble to our husband because we’ve had a hard day with the children, aren’t we just complaining about what many others long to have and what God has blessed us with – children. If we grumble about our day at work aren’t we also complaining about what God has provided for us, a job!
This has got me thinking again about these commands…
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
This is the answer to our complaining and this is God’s will for us…
not grumbling but rejoicing. Rejoicing in who God is and what He has done for us and who we are in Him.
Not complaining about our troubles but taking them always to the Lord in prayer.
Not moaning about our hard circumstances but thanking God that He IS in control and has promised to work all things together for good for His dear people that love Him.
Oh friends, it grieves the Lord so much when we complain! We have the children of Israel as an example for us in the Bible.
God faithfully provided manna in the wilderness for them but they complained saying ‘our soul loatheth this light bread’.
God had faithfully sent that manna day after day but they LOATHED it!
But friends are we any better? I know I’m not, even this last week I’ve complained about being so exhausted all the time and yet really my chronic illnesses have been such a blessing because God has used them to bring me to depend so much more on Him. Yes, it’s very tough when they really flare up BUT God is always faithful to help me through when I lean hard on Him.
Friends, there’s no happier place than depending wholly on the Lord!
As a punishment to the children of Israel, God sent serpents to bite them and the poison ran through their veins until they died.
Isn’t our complaining like that poison, deadening our souls?
Then as I looked at my Bible again, it struck me that those verses, rejoice, pray, give thanks, are followed by this, ‘quench not the Spirit.’
Our complaining quenches the voice of the Holy Spirit in us, it dulls our souls just as that poison slowly killed the children of Israel.
So let’s not be complaining friends but instead be looking up to the One who gave His life for us, asking for grace to live rejoicing, praying and thanking our good, kind and gracious God.
Num 14:27, 1 Thess 5:16-18, Num 21:5, 1 Thess 5:19