March 23

“Out of the spoils won in battle did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 26:27

Physical force is stored in the bowels of the earth, in the coal mines, which came from the fiery heat that burned up great forests in ancient ages; and so spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being, through the very pain which we cannot understand.

Some day we shall find that the spoils we have won from our trials were just preparing us to become true “Great Hearts” in the Pilgrim’s Progress, and to lead our fellow pilgrims triumphantly through trial to the city of the King. But let us never forget that the source of helping other people must be victorious suffering. The whining, murmuring pang never does anybody any good.

Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice. He said, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the service and sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.” Lord, help me this day to draw strength from all that comes to me! (Streams in the Desert)

One of the correctives my wife clearly communicated early in our courtship was “Whining is not attractive.” I cannot recall the specifics, but do remember complaining to her about something in a less than confident and masculine tone, to which she pronounced the now famous dictum. I strategically use the same expression with our grandchildren, generally gaining the desired response. There is power in being told to stand tall and stop whining. My father’s own unique twist was, “Stop complaining, things could always get worse.” Not exactly a Pollyanna view of the life, but accurate nonetheless.

Whining runs contrary to Scripture. The Apostle Paul writes that whatever happens to me is either by divine design or permission, and is for the purpose of whittling away until I become the man God intended before He fashioned this world and all the others. Instead of complaining I am to pray. In place of whining I should worship. Acknowledging Providence wrapped in love rights the ship. The Father relentlessly steers the course charted for me; I either join Him on the journey or run kicking and screaming to my own demise.

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