Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Does God get tired of it?
That isn't in the Bible study, and I hope you know I was kidding.
This past Sunday morning, a lady from my church and her husband were chatting with me before Sunday School. We did the usual "good mornings" and "how are you." She replied to the latter, "I'm doing good, but who would want to hear me complain anyway?" I laughed and said "God." She replied, "Maybe... but what if He gets tired of hearing complaints? Do you think He ever does?" I gave a reply, and she told me I should blog about it..... so I am.
It is an interesting thing to think about: Does God get weary of our complaining? I am thinking that He most likely does. If you go way back in the Bible to when the Israelites were wandering around in the wilderness, you can find some times when God got frustrated with their complaining:
Numbers 11:1-2: One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.
2 When the people begged Moses to help, he prayed, and the fire went out. 3 They named the place “Burning,”[a] because in his anger the Lord had set their camp on fire.
Later in the same chapter, they complained about only having manna to eat and made God angry again. He sent quails and made many of them sick unto death.
It is true we are under a different dispensation now than they were under, but if complaining angered God back then; I wouldn't imagine He is excited and happy about it now.
Philippians 2 says to do all things without grumbling and complaining. There are verses that talk about being happy wherever we are, and many that talk about being thankful.
And there is the rub. Can we be thankful and complain? I joked about making a time of complaining during our prayers, but does it make sense outside of prayer if we are trying to live a life pleasing to God and being thankful to Him for all He has done for us? "Thank-you God for saving me..... I really, really am tired of my neighbor blowing their cut grass in the driveway, my wife is really getting on my nerves God, and thank-you for your protection this week......I am so tired of this weather. Can't you give us something better?"
It seems ludicrous to pray like that, but it can be just as ludicrous to complain to the God who has given us so much and has done so much for us. We all need to be more thankful. The poorest of us is compared rich to many people in other countries. Most of us have family and friends to love us..... and we can have God.
We set aside a day in November to be thankful, but that doesn't mean the other 364 are left for us to complain in. Christians should be the most thankful people in the world.
In The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boon relates something that happened to her and her sister at the one prison they were in. Their cell block was infested with fleas, and her sister decided since the Bible says to be thankful in all things; they should thank God for the fleas. Corrie found the idea crazy, but finally agreed to do so. Later, they found out that the guards would go in the other cell blocks and rape the female prisoners, but never went into their cell block to do it because of the fleas.
That is an extreme example, but none of our lives are perfect. We all have things that discourage us, that we struggle with, and things happen to us all that we don't understand and make us wonder why they are happening to us.
Take my personal struggle. I prayed for years to be "normal" (whatever that is!), and begged God to take these feelings away....... and He didn't. It took me a long time to get to where I am now, but I have found I can be thankful in this. It has made me more compassionate, it has helped me make friends I never would have made, and I can see it has helped me become stronger in many ways. I could still complain to God about it, but I have chosen not to and to be thankful.
True Christianity cannot contain a complaining spirit and attitude. And if God wearied of and was angered by the complaining by the Israelites way back then, He surely must be wearied by our complaining. This side of the cross, we have so much mercy and grace, we have the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make a difference in our lives..... and we dare to complain? We American Christians should be the most thankful people in the world, but we so easily overlook our blessings and the many things to be thankful for, and find the one fly in the ointment, the one bad thing out of a million good....... and complain.
God does not have a complaint department. Let us all work harder to find reasons to be thankful and praise Him, and cut out the complaining. Even God doesn't want to hear that.