Quit Your Whining Already

8:47 AMHeather

I love to escape into a good book.  I particularly enjoy a good suspense/mystery Christian fiction book.  Wrapping up my battle with bronchitis on the tail end of the flu, I just devoured a Terri Blackstock novel, PredatorShe is one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint with its twists and turns.  Ah!  So nice to escape the day and the heavy and deep thoughts on my brain.   Or, so I thought.

Apparently, God is on full on attack mode on this idea of gratitude.  Because I wrapped the book and then started reading the note from the author.  Which started like this:

"I have a problem with gratitude."  Uh oh.  Really?  Even there in my novel? Then, it proceeded to get EVEN more personal.  As she admitted how she prays for her back pain.  (Check!  Been fighting a nasty battle with sciatica for months).  And, she prays for her migraines.  (Check!  Been there, done that).  Her point is how she is so wrapped up in the issues of her life that it takes perspective to realize how tiny her problems are compared to the REAL life and death issues facing others.  How we can become so egocentric and discontent when little problems arise in our own little life, and all the while there are starving children digging through garbage to find a scrap of food.   And people facing life and death battles with disease.  

Essentially, without using my term, she is pointing out how most Christian Americans complain and whine and cry out in prayer about First World Problems--or RPP's (Rich People Problems).  So, just what does God think of this?  Is it like when my kids complain because their friend just got the new iPhone 5 and it's just NOT FAIR that they don't have a smart phone?  And, I usually respond with something like "Cry me a river!  I got my first cell phone at age 30.  You'll live."  Call me the master of empathy.

Nope.  Not at all.  That is NOT how our Heavenly Father responds to the hurts and needs and worries of our heart.  He remembers that we are but dust 
(Psalm 103:14).  He made us and understands our shortcomings and humanness even better than we do.  And no matter our whiney attitude and woe is me outlook, our Abba Father is faithful and just (Deuteronomy 32:4). When we confess our sins and shortcomings--in other words, agree with him about them--then, he forgives them (1 John 1:9).  Here's a real epiphany--when we are faithless, he remains faithful because he cannot disown himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Lest we think His faithful and patient understanding gives us permission to keep going in our fallen, narcisstic, self-centered whining, God desires otherwise.  As Terri Blackstock points out in her "author notes" at the end of Predator, our time on earth is our training period for our eternity.  The Scriptures clearly point out that praise and worship will be a main theme in our forever.  How encouraging to know that when we see Jesus face-to-face, we'll gain the proper perspective on the things we saw as "problems."  

So, how about now?  NOW is the time to shake off our little discontent R.P.P. whining.  NOW is the time to gain some perspective and get intentional to educate ourselves and open our eyes to the real problems in the world.  Starvation.  AIDS orphans at age 12 raising their 4 younger siblings.  Poverty.  Dire poverty.  Disease.  And depravity.  

What if we were so inspired, so in awe of the faithful patient God that we serve--who hears our every cry, no matter how big or small the problem is? And we really grasped what we have to be thankful for?  What if we made it our mission to look at the big picture, the suffering in the world and we quit turning a blind eye?  What if we prayed with all sincerity and authenticity that our hearts would be broken by what breaks His?  

I think it would bring us to our knees.  But, let's not fall into despair.  Oh, it's brutally beautiful to be grieved by the suffering of others.  No greater fellowship and humanity exists.  But, instead of sitting around in sackcloth and ashes about it all, we can fall to our knees in worship.  Of the God who listens to the cries of the fatherless, who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted, who exchanges our ashes for a crowns of beauty, who bottles every tear from our eyes.  Of our Redeemer God, who buys back every heartache to turn it into good for those who love Him.  

The same God who listens to the homemaker complain about fussy kids and laundry.  The same God who cares that we feel frustrated with finances that don't allow for an annual vacation.  The same God who fights our battles, big or small, when we surrender to Him.  

What a mighty God we serve!  May we be moved to gratitude and greater perspective.  May we see the many blessings we have and seek to pour them out on others.           

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