From Grumbling to Grateful
These trials can be short and intense or they can last for what feels like forever. When we encounter these kinds of ordeals, it seems understandable and almost excusable to allow ourselves the indulgence of complaining.
I’m not speaking of lamenting here. To put it simply, lamenting is acknowledging the difficulty of what you are facing and crying out to God for comfort. Not only is it not wrong to lament, but it is also good and right to do so. It gives honor to God because it demonstrates our dependence on Him, clings to His perfect character, and trusts that He will sustain us. Therefore, lamenting can only be born out of a humble heart.
In recent weeks, the Lord has been speaking to my heart on this matter. As I have searched God’s Word and pondered its truth, there are two verses in particular that have resonated with and challenged me.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2)
Not only am I to avoid any form of griping and grumbling, but in its place, I am called to pursue joy and gratitude. How is this possible? It is because even on the worst days and even during the hardest of circumstances God is still good. And His goodness not only touches all that we face, but it is also woven into it. With every burden we bear, He also gives us countless blessings.
So, I started making a list of all the trials, difficulties, and events of this past year that have tempted me to complain. I wanted to search out God’s goodness in each one with the goal of putting off a complaining spirit and putting on one of joy and thankfulness. I wish I could say I was not surprised to see God’s blessings so very present in each and every circumstance, but I was. Once I purposed to see His goodness, it was difficult not to see it in abundance. I would like to share just a few of them with you.
There is so much more that I could share but the theme is the same. In every circumstance, God loves us well. There are always blessings in times of trouble, many of which we would never know if we had not encountered the storm. It is through hardship and difficulty that God teaches us and grows us. It is by disturbances to our way of life that God gains our attention and shows us His kindness, faithfulness, and goodness.
One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis said it best:
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”
God is always good, but many times it takes me traversing a dark valley to see His light. I often fail to notice His sustaining grace when all is well. And sadly, my first reaction when I encounter a rainy day or a season of suffering is to complain.
Whatever you are facing today, let me encourage you to take a few moments to do three things that have changed the way I’m looking at my circumstances.
As we face frustrations and trials, let us not grumble. Instead, we must “count it all joy” because, as James reminds us, “the testing of [our] faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that [we] may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4).
God uses both the trivial annoyances as well as the deepest of sufferings to expose our hearts, to call us to dependence on Him, and to grow us in our faith. And while He is doing this, He not only sustains us, but He also graces us with blessings and kindnesses as reminders that He is faithful.
Therefore, with humble hearts, let us accept with thankfulness whatever God gives because we are assured of His perfect will and goodness.
“Because His goodness endureth forever, we ought never to be discouraged: ‘The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him’ (Nahum 1:7).” - A.W. Pink
Remember to ask yourself today, “What is God teaching me?” Chose to believe “God is still good and He is blessing me even now!” And challenge yourself with this—“I will not complain but rather choose joy and be grateful!”
10/2/2020 11:22:41 am
I am reading Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf right now and they definitely hit on a lot of what you are writing about. She had a stroke 3 years after they married, when their baby was only 6 months old, which left her incredibly disabled and fighting for her life. Their story of hope and joy amidst suffering is inspirational and encouraging. It's definitely made me more aware of my negative attitude. I try to keep a gratitude journal and write in it at least three times a week, which helps shift my view from difficult circumstances to God's goodness and evidences of His grace upon my life. I often forget or get too busy to journal, and my heart and mind feel it: I get more worried and bogged down with trivial things and lose sight of His goodness. Thanks for a wonderful reminder of gratitude amidst hard days!
10/4/2020 07:21:13 am
Many years ago I gave myself the 5 minute rule. I could have the first 5 minutes of every hour to complain.
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