Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11
Why do I whine? Why am I disgruntled and disappointed? What is my heart really craving? If wine makes the heart glad, (Ps. 104:15) why is my whine glass full, yet leaving me so empty?
I’ve noticed lately, the climate in my home is thick with grumbling. Nothing is good enough; a negative attitude hangs like a cloud. Complaining, ingratitude and whining is that song on a continual loop. No one is exempt from this grumbling; either as the giver or receiver!
Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and I realize, I’m holding the reigns! My desire to have just a few moments, a half hour to myself, to sit at His feet and pray for my family, and all the kids get up early. Whine! That desire to know God better with bible study and the Internet is down! Whine! My heart desire for a hospitable home, where everyone feels welcome and the love of Christ is made known; and that annoying neighbor stops by, again! Whine! God ordained, Deuteronomy 11 style teaching my children, pointing them to Jesus, and one of them is caught in a lie and another is deeply wounded, by the actions of another. Whine! Now I’m loosing sleep. Whine! I’ve prayed hard for the redemption and healing of a broken relationship and my prayers go unanswered. Whine! My cup runneth over! Now there’s a spilled mess! Whine!
Even my inclination to go to God and pray; to lift up these burdens and heartaches, end up turning into grumbles and complaint. My prayers sound like murmurs and I walk away from my “prayer time” even more discouraged…served now with a heaping of my “lack of faith” guilt.
The desire behind many of these issues is good. Holy Spirit inspired, good desires. Desire is designed by God to reflect His glory and grace in our lives. But James 1:14-15 shows that we are easily enticed by sinful desires.
Grumbling usually comes as a result of something not going as planned, interruptions to my schedule, an expectation not met, or a disappointment about the outcome of hearts desire. It is the opposite of a grateful faith-filled heart. Those disappointments come up and make us doubt God really does work for our good.
And grumbling and disappointment are not new to God. It started in the garden, maybe that first week. God is not surprised by my disappointment. In fact, He deeply cares Psalm 56:8 “You have kept count of my tossing’s; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” But grumbling really starts to reveal my heart attitude. Maybe God isn’t out for my good. (Jeremiah 29:11) Maybe He doesn’t really care? (1 Peter 5:7) What if I can’t trust Him? (Proverbs 3:5-6) Maybe He’s mad at me? (Psalms 147:11) He must love so-and-so more because He’s answering her prayers. (Proverbs. 14:30)
John Piper addressed this very attitude that reveals my grumbling really comes from a lack of faith and a huge heart of ungratefulness. “Gratitude is the result of faith in God’s future grace based on experiencing His past mercies”
John Newton’s sung confession from the late 1700’s 4th stanza reveal where my whining starts; the chorus is my repent hearts cry! (I love the Red Mountain Church version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6cKML2HUFU#action=share)
I would but cannot rest, in God’s most holy will; I know what he appoints is best, and murmur at it still.I murmur at it still.
Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. Help my unbelief. My help must come from Thee.
When we remember that God’s love is steadfast and endures forever (Psalms 136) our hearts can gladden. His perspective redefines our uncertainty. God is up to something good!
So pour a glass of wine and take some time to reflect on His goodness and your hope!