“Do all things without murmurings (complaining) and disputings:”Philippians 2:14
In 2020, we learned that what was once normal will never be normal again. We were introduced to Zoom as a form of communication and words were used that did not seem to make much sense. Social distancing had very little to do with being social, and we were told to stay away from one another, which is contrary to human nature. We were told not to go out and to stay “locked down” in our residence. We were told to wear masks and if we only knew beforehand, some of us may have started a private business making them. I so look forward to going out to dinner on my birthday, but we instead spent our dinner reheating pizza we had purchased the day before. It is a safe bet to say that 2020 did not go as anyone had planned, and it certainly gave us plenty of fodder for complaining.
I cannot recall how many times I have been guilty of complaining about wearing a mask or being slightly inconvenienced by having to wait longer for a table at one of my favorite restaurants. I complained about working from home and did not consider that many have lost their jobs during this time. It does not take much for us to be discontented even though we live in a land of abundance and plenty. Complaining is so easy to do, and we often resort to it when things do not go our way, or not the way we thought they should.
As I look back on 2020, I think of all the opportunities I had to praise God instead of complain about what I perceived as not ideal. I joined a world that showed their discontent instead of obeying this verse that commands me to do all things without complaining or disputing. Exodus 16:8 “And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings (complaints) which ye murmur (complain) against him: and what are we? your murmurings (complaints) are not against us, but against the LORD.” God fed His people day and night, but yet they found occasion to complain. We tend to look down on God’s people for this, but yet we live in a land in which we do not go hungry, and complain about what God has given us.
The problem with complaining is that we are not complaining against one another, but we are complaining against almighty God. We are saying that we are not content with what He has given us, and that we know better about what we should have or be given. I think of my kids and sometimes myself when we hear what’s for dinner and whine because we wanted something different. We forget that God has provided in abundance, and we are ungodly when we shake our head at Him with our discontentment with what He has provided. As someone once said, “We complain about the things that some people are praying for.”
Where are you in the complaint department, friend? Is 2021 going differently than how you expected? Are you complaining about it or are you thinking of reasons to praise God for His goodness to you? I Thessalonians 5:18 states, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Imagine the influence we could have on a lost world if we praised God in circumstances where others complain. When we are tempted to complain, let us instead count our blessings and ponder all that God has done, is doing, and will do in and through our lives. To God be the glory!