Eight weeks ago, I turned 65. Almost on cue, my aches and pains accelerated and circumstances limited my recreational opportunities (New England, of all places, bypassed Fall this year, with winter beginning immediately after my birthday).
And I’ve been complaining. A lot!
Okay, so I don’t like my present circumstances. I feel cheated by a hot, rainy summer followed by a cold, rainy October and a rainy, snowy November that kept me from going to Boston more than a handful of times. And I’m decidedly displeased that I rarely feel well physically. I keep remembering my mother-in-law looking me in the eye one afternoon and advising me, “Don’t get old.”
If she was still alive, I’d tell her she was right. She’d laugh and inform me that I’ve only begun to experience the problems and complexities of old age. Something tells me she’d be right about that, too.
A few days ago, the Holy Spirit convicted me that my complaining attitude actually constitutes sin. Didn’t I remember His anger toward the children of Israel when they complained against Him in the wilderness.
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them. ~~Numbers 11:1-3 (ESV)
The Lord had miraculously delivered them from oppressive slavery in Egypt, providing for their every need as well as giving them physical evidence of His presence with them. Yet they categorically ignored His goodness to them and instead focused on their perceived hardships. As if God owed them something.
As I thought about their insolence toward Him, and my own complaining attitude, I realized that Thanksgiving is on our doorstep. What irony! Instead of recognizing God’s incredible goodness to me over the past 65 years, I’ve treated Him with contempt. I completely ignored my many reasons to thank Him.
How crazy is that?
But perhaps I’m not the only one ironically complaining even as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving. Perhaps some of you dislike your present circumstances and find yourselves grumbling a bit. If so, will you join me in repenting and committing to thank the Lord for His immeasurable kindness to us? Surely, He deserves our thanks.