Sometimes I think that whining comes naturally to people. It starts at the beginning of our life here. When we were hungry, the only way we could let anyone know was to cry. When we sensed other discomforts, we cried and fussed. As we grew, we became more sophisticated. We learned to complain, and we acquired the fine art of whining. It’s not surprising that whining becomes the first thing we do in the face of life’s burdens.
Christians do not suddenly shed the practice. Over time we grow in faith and trust more and more in our heavenly Father. When things don’t go as we think they should, our weaknesses show and we revert to whining. It’s not unusual to play the victim card when trouble comes to us personally. And we pause, paralyzed to do or think anything more than to whine.
When we see our Savior and his church bashed and belittled in our world, we react. It is more than a simple discomfort prompting a whine. Many times we realize how little we can do to change the world’s attitudes. We curl up like a wounded animal and whimper in our own private space. We go no further than a complaint.
The causes vary. Christian thought is ridiculed and discriminated against while secular thought or even other religious thoughts are given more status and rights. Morality we learned from the Scriptures is considered offensive and disruptive. Christian symbols must be removed even from private spaces. Our local church or our national church faces huge challenges. The list goes on and seems to grow with the passage of time.
Don’t whine. What we experience is all part of God’s plan. Remember Jesus! He came in humility, weakness, and poverty. He was confronted by frequent opposition. He died because others wanted to get rid of him and silence him. Isaiah foretold, “He was oppressed and afflicted yet he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He’s a good role model for us but also much more.
Before Jesus completed his work, he told his disciples what to expect after he was gone. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. . . . I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you . . . if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18-20). Disciples of all ages share the bond of opposition from the world. It’s to be expected because we are different. We don’t belong to the world; we belong to Jesus and possess his promises.
Jesus said, “I have chosen you out of the world.” In those words, we find strength. We are different. We are forgiven—a concept the world does not completely grasp. We are heaven bound—an idea that has no scientific proof but only the Lord’s repeated promises. God’s love is undeserved and boundless—a thought that makes no sense to a world that thinks his love must be earned.
We will continue to be tempted to whine and complain, but hold to the words of Jesus. When the temptation comes, remember the humble Lord who once came but now reigns over all things for your good. He’s guiding everything—everything, even what we don’t understand—for the good of his people, and that includes you and me. Instead of complaining, we can pray for the strength to remain separate from the world. In our Savior’s promises we can find the strength to be busy as Christians here—to live not as the world lives but as his disciples. Let him take care of the rest. Don’t whine. Pray. Praise. Give thanks.
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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 101, Number 9
Issue: September 2014
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