June 1

The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Exodus 14:15

Why dost thou worry thyself? What use can thy fretting serve? Thou art on board a vessel which thou couldst not steer even if the great Captain put thee at the helm, of which thou couldst not so much as reef a sail, yet thou worriest as if thou wert captain and helmsman. Oh, be quiet; God is Master! __C. H. Spurgeon

I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation—a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary. Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace. It magnifies and gives a false coloring to objects, and thus renders your burdens too heavy to bear. God’s designs regarding you, and His methods of bringing about these designs, are infinitely wise. __Madame Guyon

(Streams in the Desert)

Thomas Didymus, a.k.a. “Doubting Thomas,” was more a complainer than a doubter. He is best known for questioning Jesus’ resurrection when he first learned of it, but his famous doubting was the visible side of a more subtle attitude that may be detected in earlier exchanges. He was never one to look on the rosier side of things. “Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him'” (John 11:16). “Thomas saith unto him, ‘Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?'” (John 14:5).

I guess that’s why I feel an odd sense of kinship with Thomas; he was bent toward the Eeyore way of looking at life. We may label it with different terms such as grumbling, griping, belly-aching, or whining, but the result is the negative same. On one of our first dates, I was waxing critical about something and my soon-to-be wife startled me by asking if I wanted ‘a little cheese with my whine.’ She then uttered one her all time classic one-liners: “Whining is not attractive.”  In King James English the word for complaining is “murmuring,” but regardless of how we say it, whining is not attractive. Webster’s says complaining is “an expression of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or discontent.” To say it another way, “Complaining is the outward expression of discontent from within” (Dr. Dale A. Robbins).

The interesting thing is that the one to whom Thomas complained most was Jesus himself. Irregardless of whatever circumstances evoke dissatisfaction, complaining is really deep down unbelief. If God is in charge the way we profess Him to be, murmuring and grumbling is essentially accusing the Lord of not holding up his end of the bargain. I read how Thomas questioned the Lord and my inclination is to say, “I would never complain to Jesus”; yet, to be honest, I do it all the time.  I complain about this, grumble about that, murmur about the other, all the time thinking that I’m doing it to myself, yet God hears it all. In the end, my complaints are to and against the Lord Jesus, and call into question the quality of my faith.

“I use to think people complained because they had lots of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain” (Robbins). Complaining doesn’t change anything or make situations better; it amplifies frustration, fosters discontent, and spreads discord. Whining is an open wound that refuses to heal. Thankfully, Thomas was eventually able to declare, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) (From Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace by Dane Fowlkes)

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