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Pointers along the way #199

The Age of Complaints
- Jacob Ninan

An Age of Complaints is dawning, and we are already experiencing the beginnings. The world is going through increasingly difficult times. If it is not increasing temperatures or chaotic weather patterns, it is increasing prices, decreasing availability of food and energy, unpredictable stock markets, the fear of job lay-offs, higher rates of family break-ups, increasing violence and terrorism, newer varieties of diseases and increasing costs of medical treatment. What do we do when any of these hits us personally? Complain! We complain against people, government, and God. We think all these others should have done something so that we didn't have to go through suffering.

The Bible says that when the end time plagues come over the world, people will complain against God and blaspheme, and not repent (Re.16:9,11,21). We see even now that all around us men are complaining practically all the time. When we live among such people we also pick up the refrain of complaining. We think we have a genuine reason to complain. We forget temporarily, till we go again to the praise and worship meeting, that we are to rejoice in the Lord always (Php.4:4), give thanks in everything (1Th.5:18), etc.

We don't realise that there is something evil about a complaining attitude. We know about the people of Israel who were being taken out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land. Even after experiences of supernatural deliverances and provisions of food and drink, they complained when they faced some difficulty or didn't get the kind of food they had in Egypt. The Lord was angry with them and sent fire and plague to punish them (Nu.11:1,4). We who think that we have a genuine reason to complain do not understand why the Lord should be so angry with it. But we are warned not to grumble, lest we should suffer like the Israelites (1Co.10:10).

Our complaints demonstrate our unbelief. While we proclaim loudly that God is our loving Father who takes good care of us, our complaints show that we think He should have done something to protect us from what is bothering us. There is some disconnect between our doctrine and practice. The signal we are giving out to angels and demons is that we are actually unhappy with God. This is while God is seeking to demonstrate to the Devil that there are some people like Job who love Him even in the midst of difficulties.

But don't we feel that our practical experiences actually call for complaints, and we really can't understand why God is treating us like this? Wouldn't it be hypocritical just to keep mumbling, "Praise the Lord" when our heart is not in it?

The answer is to express our thanks to God with meaning. We need to watch out for the attitudes of complaints that are trying to take over our heart, and replace them with thanksgiving. We need to meditate on God and His ways and develop the habit of giving Him thanks, and counter the spirit of complaining that is coming over the rest of the world.