What we can do instead of complaining
What we can do instead of complaining
Have you ever heard someone complaining and it made you feel good? I can't say I have. Even if I agree with their complaints, I would rather it not be a problem to need to complain about in the first place.
Things happen that give us good reason to complain of course, and injustice certainly needs attention, but it's not exactly something we'd want to make a habit of for the sake of it. Complaining makes me want to find a quick solution and look forward to the next conversation instead of the one I'm in. Some of the emotions complaining draws out are heaviness, regret, sadness, and disappointment. Not exactly uplifting, is it? In fact, it is a draining experience that saps energy from both the complainer and the listener. And here I am complaining about complaining, ha! I apologise if you now feel deflated. Let's flip this!
When someone is joyous and excited about something, it has the opposite effect. It gives energy, inspires creativity and activity, it is soul-lifting and productive, giving way to more of what caused that joy to begin with. It makes you want to get on board with that person to increase and encourage the joy that moment has instigated.
Complaining gets you nowhere
The Israelites were good at complaining right up until the moment they were searching out the promised land they had travelled so long to receive. Even after God performed many miracles and led them out of the place where they had been slaves and fed them manna every day in the wilderness, the Israelites complained that maybe they would be better back in Egypt! They complained so much that God became angry, and Moses became so troubled he wanted to die.
[Moses]"They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' I cannot carry all these people by myself: the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me - if I have found favour in your eyes - and do not let me face my own ruin." (Numbers chapter 11 verses 13-15)
Obviously complaining didn't draw good emotions from Moses or God either!
'Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them, his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.' (Numbers chapter 11 verse 1)
When Moses sent leaders of the tribes to explore the promised land God was giving them, most came back fearful.
"The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size....We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numbers chapter 13 verses 32-33)
Their complaining resulted in that generation missing out on entering the promised land - a high price to pay!
"... not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times - not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." (Numbers chapter 14 verses 22-24)
Personally, I find the alternative much more appealing.
Caleb and Joshua returned with a glowing report. They had all seen the same things, yet Caleb and Joshua were hopeful, positive, and believing of the promise God had given them. They also trusted and knew that God would make a way for what He had promised.
Instead of complaining like the others, Caleb and Joshua made a joyful noise.
"The land we passed through is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them." (Numbers chapter 14 verses 7-9)
Because of Caleb and Joshua's faith and trust in God to deliver them, God's heart was moved towards them, working for them, increasing their joy, and moving them into the space they were promised, declared, and believed for.
Just as we feel so much more willing to assist and make things happen when our children approach us with gratitude and joy, so too should be our attitude when we approach our Father in Heaven. When we make a joyful noise before the Lord, He receives us joyfully, increasing and encouraging the joy within us.
God's promised land for you is up ahead, or perhaps you are stepping into it. We can't approach it with fear and doubt, or we may miss out. Let's get our joy on, and however long it takes for that journey to come to pass, let's keep our eyes on the Lord, knowing that He is God, and we are His creation. And how good are the things He has stored up for us!
'Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!'
(Psalm chapter 100 verses 1-2)