When we face frustrating situations… When things are not going the way we would like them to… Or frankly, when things just get “same-o, same-o, same-o, and we are bored to death… there are usually two (no three) behaviors we can default to… We can GRUMBLE, we can just GRIND AWAY – or we can do what God would have us do – express GRATITUDE for His blessing, His provision, His protection, His patience, or His power! (Did you notice the three “G’s”? 😉
What brought this to mind, you ask? Why, my Bible reading this morning! The Children of Israel, had just been marvelously and miraculously delivered from oppression and slavery in Egypt… they had reached the other side of the Red Sea… Then they sang a wonderful song of praise to God and entered the wilderness… No water! Bitter water! … and they complained (God gave them miraculous provision)… Then it was the food. And they complained against Moses and Aaron, their leaders (but ultimately against God)… Again God provided with something called “Manna!” (Exodus 15 – 16) You think they’re done “grumbling and complaining?” … Read on… It’s all part of their sad, default attitudes and actions!!!
And sadly, it’s often part of our default response to the circumstances of life! We either “grumble” or we silently and sullenly “grind away” unhappy with the way things are, our situation in life or what we find simply boring!
But there is a better way… A godly response for God’s people… a way that marks us as distinctive in the broader culture! Apostle Paul identified it for us (out of his circumstance – imprisonment!) Here’s what he said… “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life (i.e. distinctive!)” (From Philippians 2:14-16 ESV) and in another place… same circumstances… “Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, rejoice! … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!” (From Philippians 4:4–7 ESV)
I don’t know about you, but with God’s help, and the Holy Spirit’s reminders, I want to choose (and learn to “default to”) GRATITUDE over GRUMBLING (or even just simply GRINDING AWAY)!