Complain, Complain, Complain

    All close relationships among people have their ups and downs.  Even
marriage fails to maintain a consistent emotional high between the spouses. The excitement of the courtship and the delight of the wedding eventually lead to an emotional plane that is often based on confrontation. Keeping the promises of the wedding vows is discovered to be more difficult than anticipated. Additionally, merging two lifestyles into one presents conflicts. When the emotional level is low, the complaint level is high.
      Our relationship to Jesus often develops into a similar scenario. The euphoria of our salvation eventually wains and the relationship with Jesus requires effort.  The jubilation of joy is replaced with the demands of life  being reconciled with the living of the Christian life. It requires effort and discipline and far too often we begin to complain to The Lord about the challenges  in our relationship with Him.  Yet, in our relationship with God scripture teaches that He never changes . The Psalmist writes, “O give thanks unto The Lord: for He is good and His mercy endureth forever,” (Ps 136:1). My friend Judson Cornwall notes that  each of the twenty-six verses of Ps 136  (the chapter of the verse I just quoted), end with, “for His mercy endureth forever”. The verse endings of the chapter serve to assure us that everything  in our relationship remains constant from God’s perspective.  It is we who have unrealistic expectations of the relationship that causes us to complain when our expectations are not met as rapidly as we feel they should be addressed. 
     It is interesting to watch the fickle heart of we humans . . In addition to complaining about the disciplines of Christian living we offer other complaints . Just like  the elder brother in the prodigal son story,  we complain when the wanderer comes home.  Anger and jealousy causes many saints to resent the return of the wanderer. The faithful workers of God  who have never wandered away from God or His church have almost forgotten the forgiving nature of God. These faithful Christians have unwittingly become  believers in righteousness works justifying them. They are convinced that we maintain our salvation through consistent religious works, and God’s grace has become foreign to them. They have forgotten that a relationship with God is NEVER dependent upon what we have done,  relationship with God is dependent  upon Jesus’s sacrifice  on the cross and He makes salvation available to all. The church tends to forget that.  It is little wonder that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “I beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain”‘ ( 2 Cor 2-6)..
      Do not complain when the wanderer comes home, but receive them with glee knowing that it is the grace of God that has brought them…it is that grace that we preach, so enjoy it and do not complain when God’s grace is on display.
      We Christians also complain about unanswered prayer. After our conversion to Christ we embraced prayer as a magic lamp that needed only to be rubbed to release a magic genie to do our bidding. We memorized the statement of Jesus when He said , “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye  desire, when ye pray , believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them”, (Mk 11:34).  Amazingly we often received immediate answers to our prayer requests.
        As we began to mature though, the Holy Spirit impressed upon us that successful prayer had requirements of faith, love, obedience and forgiveness. This brought loud complaints among we Christians. We felt abandoned, when in reality Father God was forcing us to respond to His demands, not to a favorite memorized verse. 
     There comes a time when in our maturing relationship with God that He takes us aside to explain that He is God and we are not , that He is Father and we are the children, that He gives the orders and we obey them. Thus we have no authority to command Him but in humble obedience we come to Him in prayer and even in that posture of humble obedience God has other prayer answers for us than “Yes”. Don ‘t  complain about unanswered prayer.
    In fact our complaints would probably be eradicated entirely if we were to remember that God can be trusted and continue to grow in our faith. 
Drexel
See Judson Cornwall, “Lord, It’s Me Again”, Bridge Publishing, Chapter12.


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