What do You Have to Complain About?
In today’s current world crisis, what do you count on? Are you complaining or lamenting about the problems affecting, not only the world but you? Many in the world are crying out to God in pain and despair over the current situation, but some were crying out way before this pandemic ever surfaced. It is in a cry of desperation that puts us in a place that we may feel alienated, misunderstood, and even lonely, which is why it is important to know that we’ve someone to count on. There is someone who has been through it all with us and stands ready to lay down their life and bring an end to the suffering. Christ knows and it why we not only cry out to Him, but we can count on God with hope. But what do we do with our complaints?
I don’t know about you, but I can find much to complain about, even aside from the current crisis. I can complain about the weather, the pollen, or how life just isn’t fair. If given the right opportunity and compliant listener I can quickly launch into a full soapbox speech of complaints. Funny though, the one thing that I can complain about more than others is that I can’t stand to be around people who complain!
Frankly, my patience wanes quickly when others launch into their soapbox speeches of complaints. Writer and speaker, Will Bowen said, “Complaining is like bad breath, you notice it when it comes out of somebody else’s mouth, but not your own.” So, perhaps we need to consider the difference between complaining and lamenting and who we offer it to. One gives nothing to count on while the other clearly shows the ability to count fully in the hope of our Creator.
Complaining vs. Lamenting
There is a stark difference between a complaint and a lament. A complaint is crying out about God, while a lament is crying out to God. One is rather selfish and serves no purpose while the other allows the reassurance of hope found only through God. It is not ok to complain, but it is ok to lament. There is even a whole book in the Bible dedicated to its practice called, Lamentations. When we come to lament to God, we do so in the presence of the body of Christ. This is reassuring because we know we can count on Him. When we come together with other Christians to wait, our strength in numbers forms a positive posture towards God that encourages us not only individually but as the church collectively as we know we can count fully on God with our hope.
The world stands currently helpless, but Christians know we can count on God and wait with sincere hope. We are in a position that we can lament clearly to God for the current world crisis but also come before Him to lament about our sin and shame that we have recognized during our Lenten journey. Individually and as groups, even in this new life of social distancing, we can cry out to God like the psalmists and know fully that we can count on Christ to intervene. This allows us to stand strong with other Christians watching and waiting to see what God will do, knowing that no matter what happens, on Easter Sunday we are saved.
How to Count on God
We can trust that God will prevail in all things for this is not just our hope, but our faith. We are assured of the Lord’s forgiveness if we confess our sins to Him. It is time to put our fear aside and know that God is working out all things for the good of those who love Him. (Romans8:28) As we lament or cry out to God in despair and isolation, we realize clearly that He is what we need the most because we know we can count on Him. So, let us turn together to the only one who can help and the only one we can count on with real hope.
I am counting on the Lord, I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His word.Psalm 130:5 (NLT)
So, as we move forward into the unknown, let us remember that who we complain to makes little to no difference, but who we lament to does. We must make sure that we are lamenting to God and not complaining. If we want help, we must lament to someone who understands fully our problems and can help in our current situation. This is the profound hope in the ability of the Lord to take away our despair. Our prayers may be individual but when we worship together collectively, even online, our prayers become one.
Count on God to Listen and Act
It is important to remember that when we pray, we open the communication line between God and us and this allows us to talk to Him about anything and bring all concerns before Him. This is where we find the confidence to know that not only does, He hear us, He is listening and acting in the best interest of everyone. We must place our hope in God and count on Him for even from our position of pain He has a resolution at hand. So, we place our hope in God and remember that even in suffering there is someone who knows us and the trouble we’ve seen. Nobody else may know, but Jesus does.
Let us come together as believers in one voice through our worship, even with our necessary physical limitations, for it binds us together. We are not alone because we are one in God. Lamenting to God is faith and trust that a hearing God will bring reconciliation even if we must wait, for we know we can count on Him. So, let us lay our fears of the future aside and take courage for as General George Patton said, “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” So, let us not give in to the fears that put us on the path to defeat. Instead, let us stand strong despite such fear and know that we are on the path to victory. We are not alone in this battle or the battles to come, for God is on our side and it is in this knowledge we can count on Him fully in hope knowing that we cannot be defeated.
Lament to Him with Hope
Won’t you be challenged to remember that even though you must wait for God to act your faith tells you that you can count on Him to hear and care? Find your convictions in knowing that Jesus revealed the knowledge of God’s love for us fully in His ministry and life. Allow your motivation to come from the evident glory, hallelujahs, and confidence that you can count on God while you wait and watch for Him to move. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing as in the words of John Wesley, “Best of all, God is with us.” There is nothing more comforting than holding this fully within your heart. Cry out and lament to God in your prayers, as you ask Him, like the man on the cross beside Christ, “Remember me.”
Love in Christ,
One day, John Wesley was walking with a troubled man who expressed his doubt to the goodness of God. He said, “I don’t know what I shall do with all this worry and trouble.”
At the same time, Wesley saw a cow looking over a stone wall and asked, “Do you know why that cow is looking over the wall?” “No, of course not” the worried man replied.
Wesley said, “The cow is looking over the wall because she cannot see through it. That is what you must do with your wall of trouble, look over it and avoid it.”
Faith enables us to look past our circumstances and focus on Christ. (Knight, 1990)
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you find yourself in complaining mode lately? Have you considered the difference between complaining and lamenting knowing that you can count on God to listen? Share your thoughts on the hope you find by counting fully on God’s ability to listen to your problems.
Credits Knight, W. B. (1990). Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Pub Co.