“The restaurant had so many problems I didn’t know what to complain about first, so I asked to see the ‘whine’ list.” Ugh! But before you complain about a bad pun, it does bring up an important issue: complaining. Now before you start to grumble about this, please hear me out. No bellyaching!
We are all good at complaining, grumbling, murmuring, wailing, and protesting. We are easily off-put and offended. “It’s too hot, too cold, he’s too young or too old.” It’s a famous song, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” The Israelites complained to the Lord at least 16 times after He freed them from slavery in Egypt. Peter complained about John, and James and John complained about one another. Businesses set up whole departments just to deal with complaints, and forms are filled out in triplicate. Complaining is a skill we excel in.
Complaining is due to dissatisfaction, emptiness, or unfulfillment. It’s a physical issue, a mental issue, an emotional issue, a spiritual issue. It’s sin. Complaining denies God’s providence and goodness. It rejects His faithfulness. It shows our worldliness. Paul wrote to the Philippians 2:14-16, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing (or complaining), that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” He knew their nature, which is ours: we complain. But it must not be so among the children of God. Our witness in the world depends on it. We are to shine as lights in the world, in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. No complaining.
Instead, Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:7).” He tells the Thessalonians “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).” He tells the Romans that difficulties are actually good for us and we can, “Rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (5:3-5).” There’s no place for complaining in the Christian life.
Jonathan Edwards resolved, “I will not act, in any respect, as my own. I will not use any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, and I will make the glorifying of him my whole and entire business. I will not complain in the least at affliction, nor grieve at the prosperity of others, nor be angry because of injuries.” It is only through Christ and the power of His Spirit we can not complain. What is there to complain about if He is your true treasure and joy? With our eyes and hearts fixed on Christ, we can sing, “Count your many blessings,” and, “It is well with my soul.” What are we to fear or dread when we are, “leaning on the everlasting arms?” No complaining!