Can you and should you trust God to write your love story?

 

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In this post I talked about the unfortunate experiences of some Christian Singles who ‘heard’ God tell them who to marry but it never came to pass. Those experiences have caused some to take the stance that God cannot and will not tell you who to marry.

But like I mentioned in the post God can and will tell you who to marry , that stance is an extreme that hurts the wonderful testimonies of those who were divinely led to meet their spouses.

I have decided to bring a testimony which I came across online and which I found very inspiring. For two reasons. One, it is a wonderful testimony, reflecting my personal beliefs, and second, these people’s lives are centered around the pursuit of God, a topic I’m very passionate about.

Disclaimer: These people are ministers. I haven’t followed their ministry, though I agree with their Statement of Faith. I just stumbled on the testimony.

Their site doesn’t have much on it, so I have glanced through the various topics found there, and I don’t have reservations recommending their testimony.

In this age of rampant false teachings, I constantly find it difficult recommending ministries, for fear that I might be the cause of someone finally embracing falsehood.

I pray the link remains available for a long time to come. Here it is The Match Maker.

Most times on social media, I feel oppressed by the kind of relationship advice I see dished out to Singles. I feel so because I do believe much of it factors God out of the equation and also puts the Single in a place of stress. Stress because there are so many of those advice, some even contradictory, which can be very confusing.

The advice Christian Singles should be given  should be one that is godly, so they don’t behave like the guy in this funny short story.

God is concerned about us, including our need for companionship. We can’t go about that area of our lives as if it is all up to us. We can have his help and his guidance.

The testimony linked in this post is an example of being led by God to your mate. It is the testimony of a life that is lived for God, in total obedience and trust, willing to forego man’s opinion and accept God’s direction.

Not every single who gets inspired by the testimony would get their mate the exact way as these individuals did. This is one area where some make mistakes. It is easy to hear someone’s testimony, and then look forward to its repeat in your own life.

Yet we’re all unique. The Bible contains principles, not formulas, for finding a mate.

But the testimony does show that the Christian Single can trust God to write their love story; that the Christian Single can be led of God; that the Christian Single can make living for God a whole of their lives, not just a part.

For the Christian, marriage is as much a life lived for God as is any other christian duty. It’s all woven together, not compartmentalized. You don’t go look for a wife or a husband as if it is not part of God’s business, and then try to fit the person of your choice into your Christian living.

No, it shouldn’t be so. As Christians, everything about us must be influenced by our beliefs as shaped by God’s Word.

I read John Piper’s Desiring God, the Chapter titled, Marriage, A Matrix For Christian Hedonism. It struck me how much Christians, probably influenced by our culture today, have taken the issue of marriage lightly, mostly something to do only with our emotions.

While one purpose of marriage is for sexual gratification, Christian marriage is much more than that. Marriage is compared to the union of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

It therefore follows that we can’t just take the issue of who we marry lightly. Anyone can satisfy our sexual needs, but anyone will not do to make our marriage what God wants it to be.

May you be inspired by the testimony to trust God in whatever way he chooses to lead you to your spouse.

Janet.

 

8 Simple things that can make quiet time with God consistent, enjoyable and rewarding

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You’ve set aside time to be with the Lord, either in the morning when you wake up or some other time during the day. But when you come before the Lord you feel unmotivated, tired, you constantly yawn, you feel sleepy, you may even fall asleep, your mind is going everywhere; it’s just boring. You can’t even remember what it is you prayed for or read from your Bible after you leave the place of prayer. You go for many days without time alone with God, then you get serious again, but just for a few days, and the up and down cycle just continues. You wish you were consistent and excited about prayer or personal Bible study, but that’s not always the case.

Many of us certainly will identify with this scenario. Our desire to know God more is not always met with everyday actions that see the desire fulfilled. It’s a struggle every believer faces. But it is not a struggle that many seem to overcome or know how to overcome.

Many believers would admit to being complacent and spiritually unmotivated. We don’t plan to be unserious about our relationship with God, yet it more often than not happens that we find ourselves failing behind in spiritual disciplines.

There are all these songs out there about the presence of the Lord being a place to be. I couldn’t agree more. There’s no place like the presence of God, there’s nothing more wonderful than spending time with the Lord. It brings an animation to our personal lives like nothing else will do. It is a place of refreshment, renewal, strengthening; a place to lay down our burdens and cares and take up the joy and peace of the Lord; a time to cast our fears on the Lord and have our faith in his love, faithfulness and power encouraged. No doubt the Bible says:

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

The entire psalm 91 lists the blessings that rest upon the soul that makes the presence of God a dwelling place.

With all these promised blessings, why is it many of us do not actually enjoy the presence of God? Why is it only few actually find quiet time with the Lord an exciting moment? Why is private prayer a boring experience? Why is it that even when we are in the habit of spending time with the Lord, there are times we just can’t wait for that time to be over, so we can go do something more exciting.

They could be different answers to these questions. Two that I think of involve our heart attitude and also things we do (or don’t do) that influence how we approach and spend time with God.

If we do not consciously make a decision to fight against and overcome spiritual complacency, we would not help but be complacent.

The things I’ll mention in the points below would be of no use unless we adopt an attitude of pursuing the things of God through ‘Gritted teeth’. That means taking a conscious decision to spend time with God, to study his Word, no matter what, because we know how important that exercise is to our overall Christian welfare. If we do not discipline our bodies and act out what we know, there’s no way we can overcome spiritual complacency; we would only have the talk but no walk.

It is not enough to have time dedicated to being alone with the Lord. That time must be rewarding, else it becomes formality, a religious exercise done to satisfy our feelings and hyper-sensitive consciences.

Just so I don’t repeat some things, I recommend you read 4 Hindrances to developing an intimate relationship with the Lord and 9 Wonderful ways to ruin your quiet time with the Lord

That said, let’s look at simple things we can do to make our time with the Lord enjoyable and rewarding. Some of these are so mundane I wonder why it took me so long to realize their influence on personal time with the Lord.  I guess some may actually be funny to you depending on your culture and environment, for these are things we sometimes do, though not for the purpose of having them influence our spiritual lives.

All but two involve our bodies, because it is that part of us which poses the biggest hindrance to pursuing the things of God, for the Scripture says, ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’ (Matthew 26:41). With these, I believe we can see the willingness of our spirits prevail over the weakness and hindrance that is many times our body.

They are listed in no particular order.

  1. Give your body enough rest.

This is what I am currently doing. There are days I still find it hard going to bed early enough. Sometimes because of many ideas flooding my mind, I may not quickly fall asleep in the night, and I’ll have to get up and work on the computer. But I have made a decision: no matter when I finally fall asleep, I’m going to give my body the rest it needs.

give your body enough rest

This may not be anything to someone else but from where I am coming, it’s a great step. During my legalistic years, I was actually taught that if I wake up after the Muslim call to prayer, my prayers would be useless and my day not blessed. It is a shame I believed that, but yes I did. I even read a book by a popular preacher who basically implied that a good Christian should not be in bed after 2 a.m.; you should be up praying or studying.

That mentality made me guilty each time I got up to see it was past 5 a.m. It was one reason why I hardly had morning devotions all those years, or when I did, it was all ritual to salve a guilty conscience.

Having recovered from legalism, I still wanted to wake up early in the morning to spend ample time with the Lord before I begin my day’s activities. I tried several times to keep my quiet time with the Lord at 4 a.m. Sometimes it was successful, but many times it was not. Depending on when I went to bed, my body would still be tired and sleepy, and my mind wouldn’t pay attention to what I was reading.

That way, it was difficult to be consistent in spending time with the Lord. And consistency is very important. Spending little time with the Lord on a daily basis is more effective than spending long irregular moments with him.

Any Christian discipline can be transformed into ritual. The purpose of every discipline must then always be at the forefront of why that discipline is to be engaged. That way you’d always have the right attitude towards it.

If your body is tired or sleepy, there’s no way you can enjoy your time with the Lord.

A tired and sleepy body could be a result of overeating, lack of exercise or lack of enough rest. Treat the body well. Treat the cause instead of forcing the body to go through an exercise aimlessly.

  1. Begin with singing.

I don’t say always begin with singing. But it’s good to begin with singing if your body is unmotivated or your mind is distracted. A cool worshipful song is a great way to rein in your wayward mind or stubborn body. I find that after singing for a while, the resistance of my body simply gives way and I am able to enjoy fellowship with the Lord.

  1. Find the right posture/environment.

Take a posture and/or look for an environment that will not encourage you falling asleep while in prayers reading the Bible. You may need to stand or walk around instead of lying on the bed, sitting or kneeling. You may need to leave the bedroom if the sight of your bed makes you want to go to sleep.

  1. Physical exercise

I bet all of us are familiar with that scenario where our body doesn’t just feel like it… the body is just not in the mood. Except, of course, in carnal things that need little to no motivation, such as binge eating, watching TV or aimlessly browsing the internet.

There’s a reason why physical exercise is called keep fit. It not only implies fitness in terms of health, but also in terms of agility and having a body that is light.

bodily exercise for spiritual gains

If you find morning devotions or quiet moments with the Lord boring because of your heavy body, then physical exercise is what you need to overcome that. I also find that physical exercise helps against yawning during prayer.

Remember you don’t have to be overweight to have a ‘heavy’ body. Your muscles simply need some stretching to make them agile again.

 

 

 

 

  1. Discipline your appetite

The mouth is one area in which lack of discipline affects other areas as well. An undisciplined mouth results inevitably in an undisciplined body generally. This applies to speech as well as food. One way to tell your body the spirit is the boss is by disciplining the mouth. One reason why you may find it difficult disciplining yourself to pray or study the Word could be because your mouth is undisciplined. It eats whatever the eye sees, whenever it sees it and in what amounts it wants. It vomits out whatever is in your mind without thought as to the effect of your words on your listeners and on you. There’s no control, no restriction. As such the flesh gains dominance over the spirit. The spirit’s willingness and desire for the things of God is then overridden by the body’s lack of subordination.

spiritual dieting

It is amazing what a single day of fasting and spending time with God can do in terms of taming bodily desires. That effect can and should be encouraged through a daily discipline of the mouth on what and how it eats.

When to eat is equally important. If you want to spend time with the Lord very early in the morning, don’t eat later in the evening. It’s even not advisable for your health. Don’t give your body work to do when it’s supposed to be resting, else you get up in the morning very tired.

  1. Change scenery

There’s a spot outside our house here where I love sitting and chatting with God. I sometimes resent the fact that where I presently reside there are no lonely areas where one can go to and just be alone with God. That makes me planning on when I build my house, I would designate a large room only for prayer and studies with nothing inside except a table, chair and flowers. And then I’ll have a large lawn where one can sit and just be alone, praying or studying.

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In the open air, the mind is less clouded than when in a stuffed room. You can gaze into the sky as you worship God, beholding the wonders of his workmanship.

The closet should be understood in terms of you being alone with God, not necessary a quiet place of prayer indoors. You can choose to take a walk along a less busy path, on the lawn, etc.

  1. Visit with God. Enjoy God!

That is what quiet moments should be – visiting with God. When you visit a friend, if it is a true friend, you don’t spend all the time talking. You also sit and silently enjoy each other’s presence. You don’t only talk ‘serious’ issues. You also have informal discussions.

When I started out as a new believer, one excuse I had for not spending time with the Lord was that I didn’t know what to pray for. I desired to pray, but I didn’t have what to say that was really ‘important’. If I only knew that I could just visit with God, just come away with him, sing to him, or just be and say nothing, I could have turned that desire into action, spending time alone with the Lord.

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The same could be said of fasting. We think of fasting when in dire need, but we can equally discipline our bodies and not eat, not because we have some pressing need, but because we just want to come away from all distractions and just visit with the Lord, spend time thinking about him and letting him speak to our hearts.

 

  1. Practice the presence of God

Live in the presence of God every moment. He is always with us, but we are not always conscious of that reality. But we can teach ourselves to always be in constant communion with God by being aware of his ever presence. We can talk with him as we go about our normal activities. Then, when we come to being alone with him, it would no longer be a tedious exercise to discipline our minds and our bodies.

Personal private relationship with God should be a lifestyle with believers. Our desire to know the Lord more should prompt us to look for ways to overcome whatever obstacles and hindrances are on our path. These could involve major or simple changes.

We spend time, energy and money, making changes to areas of our lives as deemed necessary. That’s the same attitude me must have concerning our personal walk with the Lord. We must put in the time and effort it deserves to succeed.

I pray this post blesses you enough to motivate you to action.

God bless,

Jane.

Going for her noble profession — Part III

 

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This is part 3 in the short story, Going For Her Noble Profession.

Cynthia is unsatisfied being a nurse; she wishes to quit  her job and to do something she enjoys, but she’s scared of the possible outcome on her relationship with her boyfriend, Frank, the love of her life who always wanted a nurse for a wife.

Read part I and 2

Going for her noble profession — part I

Going for her noble profession — part II

 

Cynthia left the pastor’s office in a lighter mood. Even though she still doubted her convictions, she knew what decision her heart longed for. She would give it some time, while she continued in prayer and counseling.

As she descended the lonely path behind the church building, she silently prayed. “Lord, I find it easier taking the risk of failure than enduring the dissatisfaction of my present job. This is not the life I want to live when I’m thirty, forty or fifty. Lord, you know the sincerity of my heart. You know exactly how much I’ve tried to love where I am, yet the dissatisfaction grows daily. I actually dread going to work and I’m happy when the day is over. I’d do it for you if you want me to continue there, but I feel like this is not where you want me to be.

“Father, I’m also scared. Quitting a job is not an easy decision, especially when people who love you and whom you love think you are making a mistake. Their concern is genuine. I wish Frank will understand but I also fear he may not.”

When she reached her place, she went straight to lie on the bed. Imaginations play a great role in decision making, for it is with the power of this God-given tool that we can anticipate the consequences of our actions and evaluate our readiness to face them. When she visualized herself quitting her job, the imagined consequences of the decision were scary: Frank walked away, her parents got angry and turned their backs on her, friends thought she was crazy…and finally, she failed in her preferred venture.

Cynthia’s heart felt heavy. She wasn’t sure she was ready for such an adventure. Not until she imagined the alternative. She saw herself in her present job at age thirty five, a totally dispirited employee. That was scarier.

“Lord, this was never my choice,” she sobbed. “It was my parents’ counsel. Please, let me give change a try. If I fail, I will learn my lessons, plus I can always retract my steps. I’d still be a qualified nurse.”

It seemed like she could see God nodding to that arrangement. The doubts and heaviness in her heart began to give way as she believed change was the right thing to go for. There and then she mentally made the decision. Fear of the criticisms of those who mattered most to her would cause a delay in its implementation, but she was going to do it one day or another.

Getting up from bed, she went to a local grocery where she got herself treated to some ice cream and biscuits, happiness and joy radiating her entire being.

———————————————————————

Two weeks later, Cynthia was in Pastor Wills’ office again. The visibly happy and excited young woman spared no details in narrating to the pastor what she had arrived at and how the constant frustration and dissatisfaction had disappeared even before the final decision had been taken.

The Reverend let her talk out her mind; then he proceeded to asking her pertinent questions.

“What about Frank?”

“Pastor, I’m still praying God to touch his heart to see with me.”

“What if he doesn’t see with you?”

Cynthia broke the knuckles on her fingers, even though her face expressed no sadness. After a long silence, she answered. “Pastor, I’ve been thinking. If tomorrow while I’m married to Frank, I’m frustrated in my job – which is likely to happen – I would tend to direct the frustration at him. Because I would feel like if it wasn’t for him, I’d have made a change. Being with him and remaining in my present job will be difficult. Quitting and losing him will also be difficult. I know which option to choose, but I’m not so bold to verbalize it. I’m like, ‘what’s in a particular career option, anyway? Does he want a wife or a nurse?’”

Pastor Wills smiled; he was used to counselees’ dilemmas. Without offering his assistance to help her make a choice between the mentioned options, he proceeded to the next question. “What about your parents?”

“Pastor, I love my parents, but for God’s sake, I’m a grown up! I’ve lived on my own for four years now. I know they will be disappointed, but I’m no longer dependent on them for sustenance. It hurts to know they aren’t proud of my choice, but I have to wake up to the fact that this is my life. I’m the one facing the frustration and dissatisfaction at my job, not my parents. I really feel like this is what God wants me to be.”

The pastor’s next question was not something Cynthia’s imagination hadn’t anticipated. “Are you really ready to face the challenges of venturing into new horizons?”

“Yes!” was the immediate reply that came. “To me, that’s easier to handle than remaining where I am.”

“Okay, Cindy. I’ll give you a DVD teaching series from a very trusted friend. You go watch and after that whatever decision you make, go for it. New horizons are always scary because we do not know exactly what might happen, but to experience more of God you may just need to get out of the boat and walk on the waters by faith, looking up to the Lord and following his guidance.”

———————————————————–

 “How are you?”

Cynthia would have given the casual, ‘I’m fine’ but the thought immediately came to her mind to seize the opportunity to tell Frank exactly how she was. It was a month after the day she took the decision against indecision.

“More dissatisfied in my job,” she replied, looking away from him.

A painful silence followed. One, because Frank hadn’t expected that kind of answer, and two, because he wasn’t sure what satisfactory comment to make about her complaint. Had he not done his best to convince her she was in the right place? In an enviable profession? A noble profession? But here she was, talking of more dissatisfaction.

Cynthia broke the silence, “I already talked with Pastor Wills, seeking his counsel. You know, it’s hard not to doubt oneself when you are considering major changes such as quitting a job. I don’t just want to be a fanatic. So I’ve been praying and asking God for wisdom and help.

“There’s been this growing dissatisfaction all these years; I don’t see it going away anytime. I keep asking myself if this is how it’s gonna be for the rest of my life. One is not growing any younger; if there are decisions to make, the earlier the better. Sometimes I’m confused, other times, I wished I could just make the decision and damn the consequences.

“I was just thinking that the next vacation could be a no-return time and…”

She went on talking and talking, trying to prevent a possible awful silence from ensuing, and also seeking to give him as much justification for her decision as to make him have nothing more to say to the contrary.

But you can only say as much; she finally stopped talking.

Seated by her side, Frank fixed his stare on his black-polished shoes, a sign he was in deep thought. Cynthia’s heart was pounding, the same time a tiny part of her mind was regretting the decision.

“It’s okay,” Frank finally said. “You shouldn’t be in a job you don’t like. You can’t live like that for the rest of your life.”

And? Won’t you say more? There was one more thing she desperately wanted to hear.

After a long silence he spoke again, “If Decorative Arts is what God wants you to do, I encourage you to go for it. Do what you find satisfaction and fulfillment in. We can’t always think things should be done the way our logic understands, right?”

Not yet right. I haven’t heard what you think about our relationship.

Probably, he was saying it, but Cynthia wanted speech that left no room for doubts and varied interpretations.

She decided to dismiss the doubts. “What becomes of our relationship then?”

Frank was shocked to the core. He had not expected she would think it possible that he could let her go because of a change in career path. He had not understood how his desire to marry a nurse had so much affected the particular nurse he had chosen to be with.

But before he could utter a word in reply, Cynthia was excited for the look of surprise on his face – it was all she needed to rest her anxious heart.

“Cindy, I love you,” he said, “and yes, I always wanted a nurse, but I love you enough to be happy with your happiness. I think I need to have a reshaping of my desires as to the kind of profession I want my wife in. After all, it’s you I want, not your profession.”

She wanted to jump on his neck, but his mouth gestures indicated he still had more to say.

“I’m taking you out tomorrow.”

She understood exactly what he meant. He had been planning for it for some time now.

——————————————————————

Years later, a certain Cindy Frank stood at the entrance of her Decorative Arts shop one afternoon, amazed and feeling fulfilled. She had just closed for the day after a wonderful work day. Besides regular normal clients, a local NGO involved in the rehabilitation of destitute single mothers had contracted her to help train some of the women, seven in all. It was a golden opportunity to be part of the recovery process for the women, all of whom had had very traumatic experiences, which made many among them open to the gospel.

The Good News flowed so freely from her lips and genuinely from her heart. It was no longer an exercise done to add more value and reason to a job she hated.

Cynthia had found her place of fulfillment; her noble profession. She was grateful to the Lord for the way he had caused things to turn out for her. Almost stress-free.  It was unlike other people’s success stories where the challenges were much more difficult than hers. Yet, she still told herself that finding fulfillment is worth the challenges, no matter the level of difficulty; and when God truly leads, success is inevitable even after a long period of apparent limbo.

And there remained yet another wonderful advantage to being at the place her heart had longed for. She couldn’t wait to have the active girl in her tummy come to the world. Great was the joy of knowing she would happily take care of the little lily herself, without the need for a nanny to fill her absent hours. It would be one of her much anticipated joys of motherhood.

She was truly amazed, silently thanking the Lord as she walked away.

Janet Bengan

Fiction for Teaching, Inspiration and Entertainment.

Fiction for Teaching, Inspiration and Entertainment.

What complaining reveals about the believer’s state of heart

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I recently found myself complaining a lot to God, because I expected certain things to go a certain way and he was seemingly not into that idea.

I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my attitude because I believe in being open to the Lord about my feelings.

Most of the time, I talk to the Lord as I would talk to someone seated across from me – very informal. And knowing that he loves and cares for me, some of my best quiet moments with him are when I tell him exactly how I feel and think about whatever situation.

There’s so much relief when you pour out your heart to the Lord like that, instead of behaving ‘religious’ before God, and never really talking to him from the heart.

In this post I made a distinction between pouring out your heart to God and complaining. While the former is done in faith, the latter is done in anger and resentment.

What happened these days didn’t quite strike me early enough that I was complaining instead of pouring out my heart to the Lord. I thought I was just being honest with him. I wasn’t going to stifle my feelings and refuse my thoughts. So I just let him know how I felt and thought!

It’s the result that made me realize that what I was doing was not right. A sincere pouring out of the heart to God is done in faith, with the view of God as the loving caring Father. This results in emotional relief – peace – even if your physical situation remains the same.

Complaining is a fruit of discouragement, anger and resentment, and the result is more discouragement. After complaining and welcoming more discouragement, it just spoils the atmosphere and you can no longer truly enjoy quiet time with the Lord.

In his word, the Lord cautions against complaining and murmuring. 1 Corinthians 10:10 makes reference to the Israelites’ complaining and grumbling attitude in the wilderness and how that attitude cost many of them their lives. It did finally cost the entire population that left Egypt, save for Caleb and Joshua, entry into the Promised Land.

And if Christians are called upon to look at that example and learn not to complain, it is important to take the command seriously. It says clearly and loudly that God hates complaining and grumbling. Why?

It’s about the heart attitude from which complaining comes.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Revised Edition) defines Murmuring as the outward expression of deep inward discontent and rejection of one’s lot. That sounds pretty heavy but it is absolutely true.

As God’s follower, someone seeking to live for God alone, when you complain about what God is doing in your life, there’s something you are communicating to him that you may not even mean it verbally. You may not even realize what you are doing; you would be shocked if God showed you your heart condition that grieves him.

Matthew 12:34

…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

If wasn’t just the fact that the Israelites complained verbally; it wasn’t just their little grumbling groups and conspiracies against Moses that got the Lord annoyed. It was the heart attitude that gave birth to the physical expression. Which is what the believer needs to consider when taking the command in 1 Corinthians 10:10. That verse isn’t only calling for a cessation of words but a change in heart attitude towards the situation at hand.

Whether discontent is verbally expressed or not, the result of complaining is always there – discouragement, despair or actions that are contrary to what the Lord would want of you.

Complaining questions the faithfulness and wisdom of God. He’s not truly trustworthy. He’s not doing things the way you think he should be doing. If given the reins you would do a better job.

No one wants to tell God that, but that’s what complaining says.

Questioning God’s faithfulness

When they left Egypt triumphantly, after having experienced God’s spectacular power in the plagues that ravaged Egypt while sparing them, one would think the Israelites should have had no problem believing God when they found themselves caught between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian Army. God had unmistakably proven to them that he was with them and that he was more than enough for every situation. He had promised to bring them out of the land of bondage to a land flowing with milk and honey. The desert was not a land flowing with milk and honey. It was the route to that land. They should have therefore eagerly looked forward to the next miracle with no fear.

But they panicked and complained. They actually saw themselves being killed. They accused Moses of bringing them out to die in the wilderness. They completely forgot what God had done in order to bring them out. They didn’t believe he was able to save them there. At the bottom line, they didn’t believe he was faithful to his word to bring them to a land of their own, the land flowing with milk and honey.

When you follow God, things will not always going to be rosy. In fact, expect hardship when you step out with God. This message is hard to receive in our Christian culture today where aversion to adversity is rife. I have seen some of those religious skits where the message is basically saying, ‘if you want the affluent life your neighbor is living, then become a Christian like him’. That gospel appeals only to the flesh and is the reason for so much discontent in the lives of some professing Christians, which makes them vulnerable to the schemes of con artists disguised as men of God, who rip them off of their hard-earned money in exchange for promises of effortless prosperity.

Adversity is never a sign of God’s inability to deliver and to save. It is never a sign that he has stopped being faithful; that he made a promise which he is unable to deliver.

Complaining therefore questions God’s faithfulness. It says he’s not able to fulfill his promises. It forgets the victories of the past.

Look at the Lord’s disciples in the midst of the storm while he was asleep. Instead of calling on him for help, they complained and accused him of not caring. When he got up and calmed the storm, he rebuked them by asking, ‘how is it you have no faith?’

The reason for their complaint and cries was because of a lack of faith. That is what makes complaining detestable to the Lord. It is a sign of unbelief.

Questioning God’s wisdom

Even if I’m being killed, I will shout it loud and clear: God is faithful; he never fails, he never disappoints. Never. I know that I know that I know, God IS faithful. But what about his wisdom and the way he chooses to prove his faithfulness?

Well, not verbally expressed, but complaining and being discontented with the way God does things says exactly that: you don’t believe his wisdom is right. And beneath your discontentment lies impatience. You know God is faithful, and he has to demonstrate that faithfulness, NOW, or else, you’ll doubt his word.

How familiar that sounds!

Questioning God’s wisdom could also be in the sense of not seeing his instructions as logical. That’s what finally stopped the Israelites who left Egypt from entering the Promised Land. How could God expect them to face the dreadful giants? The better option was to choose a leader and return to Egypt!

How in our complaining state, thinking we are more rational than God, we take decisions that only result in our hurt!

No matter what way we look at it, complaining grieves God. He hates it.

Complaining is a sin. It reveals the state of a heart that is not stayed upon God; a heart that doesn’t trust him; a heart that questions his faithfulness and wisdom. A heart that thinks it knows better than God.

Situations that provoke complaining are always there. Giving into the temptation is our choice. Life above complaining may be hard but it’s possible. The possibility is the reason why God commands us to learn from the Israelites’ example.

How to stop complaining

  • Make a decision to keep away from complaining, no matter the situation
  • Stay your mind on the Lord by meditating on his person, his might and his goodness
  • Seek his wisdom when you are confused or discouraged
  • Remind yourself of his faithfulness in the past.
  • Do what his word says to do. Refuse the negative feelings and the urge to speak them.