Exodus 16:7 “. . . and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?”
Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing”
So why is complaining about something such a bad thing? If things aren’t as we think they should be, isn’t it our right to complain? Isn’t it our right to freely speak our mind and say it like it is? Isn’t that the American way? Well, in the verses above, we see that while complaining may be the natural way, for surely it comes so easily to us, it is not the godly way. For the believer who says he or she has put their faith in a sovereign God who has filled His Word with promises, complaining, no matter who or what it’s about, is, at its heart, an expression of dissatisfaction with God. It is nothing more than a statement that we deserve better, when the truth of the matter is that if we ever got what we truly deserved, things could be much, much worse.
In the account from Exodus above, Israel had just been delivered by a miracle of God at the Red Sea. Three days later they came to a place in the wilderness that had undrinkable water, so they complained, and God, in His incredible patience, did another miracle by turning the bitter water sweet. Just prior to this, God had delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage by a series of miraculous plagues including the miracle of the Passover. Time after time God was proving Himself in a pattern. He always met Israel’s needs at such a time as they really needed help and there was nowhere but God from which to get it.
Our help, likewise, always comes from the Lord, no matter in what form we receive it. As the psalmist declared “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4).” Likewise, it was Jesus that promised “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (John 14:16).” So, it is clear that the believer always has help because he or she always has a supernatural Helper with them every moment of every day. We may not see Him, but He is there. Surely, then, any complaint we make about anything is, at its heart, a complaint against the Helper who has promised us that He would supply everything we ever need (Philippians 4:19). He may not provide it when we think we need it, or in a way that we think we need it, but then our thinking isn’t much of a match for the God who knows everything.
May God help us to not complain about anything as He sovereignly, wisely, and patiently guides us to a life that, in the end, would bless us beyond measure and glorify Him with the blessings only He can give.