5 Oct

A customer was bothering the waiter in a restaurant. First, he asked that the air conditioning be turned up because he was too hot, and then he asked it be turned down because it was too cold … and so on for about half an hour.

Complaint sign with Hand GrenadeSurprisingly, the waiter was very patient. He walked back and forth and never once got angry. So finally, a second customer asked him why he didn’t throw out the pest.

“Oh, I really don’t care or mind,” said the waiter with a smile. “We don’t even have an air conditioner!” ~ anonymous

How unlike most of us to be that patient! Actually, I (Dawn) just saw this sign ~ a Facebook friend’s profile shot. Most of us are just that tense until we learn the patience that comes from walking with the Lord and learning from His wisdom.

I worked at Christian Examiner full time for more than a decade, and at one point, the office was in the publisher’s home. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed and checked my attitude when I saw the sign posted in their kitchen ~ Kwitcherbellyakin!

It’s so easy to become a complainer, but that is not God wants for us. Philippians 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” I taught my boys that obedience wasn’t enough. They had to obey without arguing with me or complaining about my requests ~ to obey “with a happy face.” That was good preparation for how we are to obey the Lord.

Complaining and disobedience are often connected (Psalm 106:25). Complaining, at its root, comes from a spirit of discontent. Some of the children of Israel, delivered by God’s grace, complained about His provision in the wilderness, and these grumblers were destroyed (Numbers 11; 1 Corinthians 10:10).  We struggle with our circumstances and, without turning to God, we lapse into complaints. The ancient saint Job certainly did. But the child of God will at some point seek God’s perspective and purposes in the midst of pain. Like Job, we will say, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25a). In other words, God is alive and in control. We can trust Him.

We all struggle and whine at some point ~ and God is gracious; He understands our struggles. But the wise believer will turn to God and remember His faithfulness in the past as the incentive to trust Him today.

Choose a positive attitude as you rest in Him. God can give you patience and contentment if you are willing, and your joy will return. The biblical perspective is: “Do not let any unwholesome talk [including complaining/murmuring] come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29).

When are you tempted to complain? How can you turn that “bellyakin” into an opportunity to trust God and respond to circumstances and people in ways that will please Him?


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