Here are a few recent things I have complained about and heard others complain about over the past few weeks: “I can’t stand my job”, “their customer service is ridiculous, I’ve been waiting here forever”, “these papers and classes are killing me”, “I’m tired and don’t feel like getting up and out of bed”, “I’m bored and stuck in the house with nothing to do”, “I’m hungry and there’s nothing to really eat here”, “I don’t have anything to wear”, etc.
We complain about some of the most basic things in life without stopping to even acknowledge that when we are complaining, in that same breath we’re taking for granted something that God has blessed us with. All throughout this past month, as I have watched television, spoke to different individuals, and encountered many different situations, what has stood out to me the most is how often we take things for granted by complaining.
“1Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them. 4The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost- also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!’”
When I read the scriptures above, it made me think about how disrespected and hurt God must have felt after hearing the Israelites complain since he had already done so much for them. The moment life did not cooperate as the Israelites desired, instead of remaining grateful for what God had already blessed them with, the Israelites kept complaining.
Have we become the complaining Israelites taking God’s blessings for granted? Think about it, what a slap in the face to God it must be when he hears you complain to someone about how “you can’t stand your job”. The same job that only a few years or months ago you prayed and asked God for, not to mention you actually have a job unlike so many others who are searching. Think about how it must make God feel when he hears us complain about school and say, “these papers and classes are killing me”. Are you the same person who practically begged God to get you into a decent college or graduate program and now you are complaining about the responsibility that comes along with the blessing he has given you? Or what about when God hears us say to someone in our household, “I’m hungry and there’s nothing to really eat here”. That phrase “nothing to really eat” insinuates that there are options to eat but most likely nothing of your preference that you would like to eat. How belittled God must feel when instead of giving him praise for blessing you with something to eat you complain about not specifically having what you want to eat when there are so many that have nothing to eat.
Before you decide to complain to someone about something you are dissatisfied with, I believe God wants you to stop and take time to recall everything that has been done for you thus far. Stop taking for granted what you already have been blessed with. Learn how to remain thankful and appreciative for what you have even in your times of discomfort. It is okay to have a moment of discontentment about a situation that God may have you in, but it is not okay to repeatedly complain to people about the situation.
What we must understand as children of God is that there are some things in life that we are going to have to go through and take whether we like it or not. Instead of constantly complaining to others when we are displeased about life not going our way, constantly take your complaint(s) to God in the form of prayer and let him know how you feel. Do not go complain to someone saying “I can’t stand my job”, instead, go to God, give him thanks for blessing you with a job, and address your concerns about your job with him.
“18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
We worship your Holy name and give you complete Glory, Honor, & Praise. With gratitude and appreciation we thank you for all that you have done, all that you are currently doing, and for all of the unforeseen blessings to come in the future. Tame our tongues so that instead of a complaint there will be a prayer of gratitude coming from our mouths. Arrest our minds so that instead of an irritable thought about complaining there will be remembrance of what you have already blessed us with. Purify our souls and teach us how to gracefully humble ourselves so that no matter what circumstance we may face, we remain grateful and appreciative for what we have. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.