“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:34
Left to my own devices, I’m a complainer by nature. By my sin nature. I’ve been prone to it for as long as I can remember, and I can fall prey to it in a heartbeat if I am not extraordinarily careful. One night after an extremely long day doing mostly what I didn’t want to do and finally ready to sit down with a bowl of yummy oatmeal (my favorite) at my computer to do the writing I wished I had done hours earlier, I discovered paralyzed dog Mr. Simeon had made a mess after I had changed his diaper. After 20 years of rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing and in more recent years providing sanctuary-style care to up to 19 dogs at a time including special needs and seniors which required a great deal of work, I had hit the road full-time for ministry with a very small crew of the last of them and was surprised, and dismayed, at how much work was still involved. It seemed every time I wound down enough from my ministry work and caring for the dogs to relax, or from caring for the dogs long enough to do my ministry work, another issue presented itself. Like Mr. Simeon’s mess.
But before I fell headlong into complaining, I realized how blessed I was to have the health and strength and resources to do the work to which the Lord had called me for that season of my life. I remembered something a beloved friend had shared with me not long before. She had been moaning and groaning one day over her husband waking her in the middle of the night, having to care for her disabled brother, and something else. But before she could continue any further in her complaining, she realized how blessed she was to have a husband whom she dearly loved, and to have the strength and health to care for her brother. Then she found a blessing even in the third thing she had been complaining about.
The Lord hates complaining, and well He should considering the infinite blessings He bestows upon us. Complaining is sin, and we need to repent of it. But instead of merely getting rid of our complaining to honor and revere the Lord, should we not take advantage of the opportunity we have to go one step further and to thank the Lord for the blessings we find on the other side of our complaining – when we open our hearts and eyes and see even in the midst of the things we find unpleasant we can find the blessings of the Lord?
I wasn’t just blessed to have the health, strength, and resources to do the Lord’s work. I was blessed most of all to have Him and an amazing relationship with Him, to be filled with His Spirit, to have His Word which is His voice and road map for life now and everlasting, and for a zillion other reasons – including to be able to enjoy the precious special dogs He placed in my life.
Quit complaining, my friend, if you’re prone to it as I am. Be thankful to the Lord for your blessings instead!