Certain sins trip us up so easily. Or maybe it’s just me…
Someone in our home (who is not my husband, lol!) has a tendency to complain. Actually, there’s more than one of us that get caught up in griping and groaning.
I love the dictionary definition of complain, which says it means to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.”
Oh, how easy it is to be dissatisfied or annoyed! Those feelings can come from how another person acts, a situation that doesn’t go our way, or just random circumstances that we really don’t want to have to deal with in the moment.
We know from the Bible story of the children of Israel in the wilderness what God thinks about complaining. Numbers 11:1 says, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD…”
Often our complaints are about daily irritations. We’ve talked before about choosing gratitude instead of complaining, because you can’t do both of those at the same time!
But sometimes, our “complaint” might be more along the lines of a personal hurt. Sure, it could be physical pain. It may also be an emotional struggle, like grief or regret.
I think that was the case with David in Psalm 142. As I read those seven verses, I’d say part of his complaint may have been loneliness. He also appears to be discouraged about people who are persecuting him. So how did he handle it?
“I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.” ~Psalm 142:1-3a
Where David succeeded is where I often fail. I want to share my “complaint” with my husband, my family, my friends – or, realistically, with whomever will listen.
Yet in most cases, they likely can’t do anything to solve my problem. While they may care about me, they can’t provide me with peace or contentment.
Instead, I need to choose David’s solution. Whatever my current complaint or trouble, I need to deal with it by taking it directly to God.
Don’t you love the words David uses as he describes “pouring out” his complaint before the Lord? Let’s admit that sometimes we’re so full of our grievance that it just spills out of us. What a relief to empty ourselves of it, and allow it to flow over to a God who can handle it.
David also “shews” God his trouble. Yes, we can describe to Him every detail that is bothering us. After all, He already knows all about it. (And by the way, while my husband is a patient listener, I doubt he would have a problem with me taking these things to God instead of to him!)
Comfort comes as we realize that God knows our path. He is aware of exactly what is taking place in our lives. Not only that, He knows the end from the beginning. Perhaps God is just waiting for us to lay it at His feet.
Can we share a trouble with a loved one and ask them to pray for us? Absolutely! But let’s also remember to take each “complaint” to God. Trust Him to replace our “overwhelmed” spirit with His peace. And then we can join David at the end of the Psalm, praising God’s name.