15 Nov A Discontent Heart
My husband and I were cast suddenly into a very difficult season of life four and a half years ago when not just one but both of his parents had major life-threatening health crises within a month of each other.
It has taken a long time to be able to say this, but I am thankful that God allowed this season because it has refined both of us in unimaginable ways that we desperately needed. However, there is still plenty of work to be done in my heart.
Two weeks ago on a beautiful Saturday morning, I returned home from the grocery store to find out that my father-in-law had been rushed to the hospital for the fifth time in two months. My first thought was, “Well there go our plans for the day —again!” I let those grumbling thoughts continue for another couple of minutes before reeling it in. As I ran around and tried to help my husband finish what he was doing so he could shower and leave, I comforted myself with the fact that at least I didn’t say anything out loud. He didn’t know that I was complaining under my breath, but then I remembered someone more important did—God heard me.
“He didn’t know that I was complaining under my breath, but then I remembered someone more important did—God heard me.”
The one Scripture that speaks directly to this sin is Philippians 2:14. Paul clearly writes, “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” Some of the older translations use the word grumbling. What the apostle Paul is urging here is to not simply do things without discontent and murmurings but instead to go the extra mile and do them with a cheerful heart and willing mind! That is not the attitude I had in that moment.
Another reference to grumbling can be found in 1 Corinthians 10:10. Here the apostle Paul is describing the Israelites’ sinful attitudes in the Old Testament. This specific verse is talking about when they complained against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:2, 36; 16:41-50), and God brought a plague and struck over 14,000 of them dead right then. This vivid word picture illustrates how offensive grumbling and complaining is to Him.
“When I complain, I am saying that I know better than the sovereign God of the universe what should be going on in my life.”
The Ezer study, A Woman’s Words, beautifully pinpoints the root of our complaining problem with this truth: “A heart that is rooted in thanksgiving can’t produce words of discontentment and grumbling.” And it doesn’t matter one iota that I did not speak the negative words out loud. I was still harboring sin in my heart, and my mind was not at all willing and cheerful about my husband being gone for another entire day to serve his parents.
When I complain, I am saying that I know better than the sovereign God of the universe what should be going on in my life. My bellyaching reveals that I want more, or in this case less, of what He is giving me. How many times do I miss the blessings He has planned for me that day or in a certain situation because I moan about it and sometimes do not obey Him? When I find myself grumbling or being tempted to, I need to stop and check my heart to see what is ruling over it at that very moment. Is it my self-centered desires or is it truly the Lord?
Heavenly Father, the depth of Your compassion and grace knows no end. You love me in spite of all my failings. How great and unsearchable are Your thoughts and ways, so much higher than my own. Teach me Lord to find my satisfaction in You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Beverly Kinard has been married to her college sweetheart for 30 years and is making the most of her empty nest. When she is not in the kitchen trying a new recipe, you can find her traveling, watching college football, or shopping for shoes. One of her greatest desire is to finish well the race the Lord has laid out before her!