Complaining Eyes

Complaining Eyes

Last week I posted a blog by Paul Tripp.  This week I just want to steal an idea or two from him.  Not too long ago my son in law bought a new car.  I had not seen too many of them on the road but after his purchase I began to see them everywhere.  I don’t think that there was a sudden surge of people buying this car because my son in law bought it.  He is a good guy but not a social influencer.  I was just more aware of the car and my eyes were more in tune with seeing them.

In Deuteronomy chapter one we read how the Israelites, whom God miraculously delivered from Egypt, refused to go into the Promise Land.  They had received a report from some of the spies who were sent into the land.  This report included the size and power of the enemy possessing the land.  It did not, for the most part, include a report about how big their God was.  So listen to what is said about the people who refused to go, “You murmured in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hated us he brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us’”.  (I never know how to end those kind of quotes)  There is an important progression.  They first murmured.  They had been murmuring about no water, they had been murmuring about no food, they had been murmuring about the route they were taking, and now they were murmuring about God.  Their complaining led to them seeing more complaints which led them, because they believed God was in control, to change their theology and believe God hated them.  All of that led to a very bleak future.  No God, no hope.  Any enemy would over run them.  Their complaining gave them eyes that only could see other complaints. They could not see any of the blessings they had.  They could not see the promises that God had kept and was keeping.  They could not recall the awesome display of God in Egypt.  They could not recall the saving of their first born.  Complaining only allowed them to see more things to complain about.  That led to the simple conclusion that God hated them.  They were not God’s chosen people anymore. They were the wicked step child that was ignored and despised by the parent.  It is important to note that they still believed in the sovereignty of God.  They simply stopped believing in his goodness toward them.  This gave them no hope and no future.  It paralyzed them and would not allow them to go forward into the Promise Land. They were stuck.  The more they were stuck, the more they complained, the more they complained the more they saw things to complain about, the more they found things to complain about the more they believed God hated them, the more they believed God hated them the more they lost hope, the more they lost hope the more they had to complain is the song that never ends.

The solution.  Stop complaining, start praising, and count your blessings.  By honestly doing that, you can start a new cycle.  A cycle that is powered by eyes that see more and more blessings.  A cycle that finds joy, even in suffering, because you now know the goodness of God.  You now see his faithfulness in keeping promises in the past, this gives you eyes to see how he will keep his promises in the future.  You remember how the sufferings in the past were used to strengthen you and how God always kept you in the palm of his hands. Even if you cannot see that now, you know it to be true.  Your theology is driven by the truth and not by what you perceive your circumstances to be.  Praise begets praise.  Praise gives you a proper perspective.  Praise gives hope.

To state the obvious, this is not easy.  Putting our suffering into words is difficult enough.  Finding words of praise in the midst of suffering is even harder.  That is why God gave us the Psalms.  They are given to us to help us put our sufferings, laments, and words of praise in words.  Run to them.  Allow them to be your words of praise.  Allow them to rebuild your trust and allow you to see the bigger picture.  Allow them to remind you of your identity.  You are not your suffering.  You are a blood bought child of God who is loved with an everlasting love.  Allow the Psalms to then drive you to the truths of the Gospel.  Romans 8 is a great passage.  Do not get stuck on verse 28 but jump to verses 31-39 and rejoice in the truth that this God who gave his son for you will always, no matter what, love you and keep you.  Today you might be in great pain but it is also a day that you are fully loved by your God and that is a truth about you that will cause you to lift up your voice and rejoice.  Can’t complain while you are rejoicing.

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