Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining (against God) and questioning and doubting (among yourselves), Phillippians 2:14 (Amplified Bible)
A while ago a Pastor gave a teaching to our school students on doing everything without complaining. It did much to alter my thinking in many areas of my life. It is so easy to find fault with people, things, or circumstances in our life. Let’s face it. We all do it in one way or another whether we admit it or not. We find many things to grumble and complain about. We complain about the weather. We complain about the economy. We complain against our neighbours. We complain against our government. We complain against our parents, teachers, pastors and other authority figures. etc…. complain, complain, complain, grumble, grumble, grumble. Most of all when things don’t go our way or turn out the way we think they should, who do we blame the most? God. We must sound like a bunch of whiners to Him. I can’t stand whining and have never put up with it from my children. Whining is a turn-off to most of us.
"Dad, I don’t like these vegetables! I don’t like these clothes. I don’t want to go to bed early! Why can’t stay up? But Jimmy and Mary are allowed to! You never let me do anything! I don’t want to take that medicine. It tastes yucky. Do I really have to go to school today? I don’t want to do my chores. I want to go and play! I want this! I want that! Why won’t you let me have it? Waaah! Waaah! I want it and I want it now!" Waaah!" Annoying isn’t it? You have to realize that many of us sound that way to God. We are not content with the promises He has given us.
The children of Israel were chronic complainers. They had seen some of the greatest miracles in the Bible such as the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of Egypt. God had put a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead them. He provided food, water and made sure their clothes or sandals didn’t even wear out and yet they found reasons to complain. Keith Green wrote a amusing song called; "So You Want to Go Back to Egypt."
So you wanna go back to Egypt, where it’’s warm and secure.
Are you sorry you bought the one way ticket when you thought you were sure?
You wanted to live in the land of promise, but now it’s getting so hard.
Are you sorry you’re out here in the desert, instead of your own backyard?
Eating leeks and onions by the Nile.
Ooh what breath, but dining out in style.
Ooh, my life’s on the skids, give me the pyramids.
Well there’s nothing to do but travel, and we sure travel a lot.
Cause it’s hard to keep your feet from moving when the sand gets so hot.
And in the morning it’s manna hot cakes.
We snack on manna all day.
And they sure had a winner last night for dinner,
Flaming manna souffle,.
Well we once complained for something new to munch.
The ground opened up and had some of us for lunch.
Ooh, such fire and smoke.
Can’t God even take a joke huh? .(no!)
So you wanna go back to Egypt, where old friends wait for you.
You can throw a big party and tell the whole gang,
That what they said was all true.
And this Moses acts like a big-shot, who does he think he is?
It’s true that God works lots of miracles, but Moses thinks they’re all his.
Well I’m having so much trouble even now.
Why’d he get so mad about that cow, that golden cow.
Moses sits rather idle, he just sits around.
He just sits around and writes the bible.
Oh, Moses, put down your pen.What? oh no, manna again?
Oh, manna waffles. manna burgers,
Manna bagels, fillet of manna,
Manna patties, bamanna bread!
The song is amusing, but the reality was God was not pleased at all with their complaining and because of their grumbling and complaints a whole generation died in the desert and never saw the land that God had promised them. Only their children did. You can read their story and all about how God dealt with them in books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
We are much more blessed than the children of Israel ever were as they didn’t have the salvation available to us or have the Holy Spirit living in them the way we do and yet we continually find reasons to complain. Like any sin it will separate you from God and hinder your prayers. Complain loud enough and you may find a lack of blessing in your life. That the promises of God for you will be out of reach and you may even be in danger of missing them all together.
Paul said in Phillipians 4:11b-12 (NIV) "For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And in 1Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." That’s the secret in learning not to complain. It is learning to be content no matter what your situation may be. Knowing that God knows what is best for you at all times even better than you know your self. Some situations may be tough to face but there is a peace that comes with surrender and letting God work. For as Romans 8:28 says, all things work together for our good.