Philippians 2:14-15 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
This week’s study is all about learning to recognize when our suffering is not honoring God. It does not honor God when the treasure of our hearts, that is coming out of our mouths is only comments on how little we have, or how hard it is, or even how we didn’t get what we deserved. Boy, is this a treasure that has been displayed in my life this week. What I felt and what I thought about my situation came out in full force this week when I was faced with many situations that allowed me to praise or complain.
My family all has been sick this week. So finally after getting them all to the doctor and getting their medicine, my ear starts to hurt. Now, as you all know I am in a iron man triathlon and am in training. That requires I swim. I just completed my 2 miles and only have 18 laps left to go……but I cannot. My ear is hurting so bad. So I take myself to the doctor, yes, it is my fourth day in a row to go. Sure enough, the doctor diagnoses is swimmer’s ear.
I go to the pharmacy to get my ear drops. The pharmacists tells me they are $52.00. That is just for one ear. I didn’t have it. So, I call my husband and he had made enough at work that day to make up what was needed. He came and brought it for me. Here is what I sounded like:
Me: This is stupid! How can ear drops cost so much? Even with insurance? and it is only one ear! This just too much!
God: Nothing is too much for me……..
Me: But God(hear the whine?) I need that money for the bills. Everything here costs so much! I just hate living here. It is ridiculous!
God: I provided you a job where you get insurance, I provided the money for your co pay and your prescription. I always provide for you. Nothing is too much for me……why are you acting like this is?
Me: Forgive me, Lord. Thank you for making a way for me to get into the doctor. Thank you for giving me medicine to help me heal and for providing the money to pay for the prescription. Yes, even thank you for living here in Minot, where I get to grow in faith every day. Please help that last part to be said from a sincere heart and not one of sarcasm.
See, complaining only lead me on the path of discouragement, despair and anger. It glorified me as a victim. WHen I opened my mouth and let praise flow out, it glorified God and refocused my heart. It empowered me to see His power, His ability, and His skill. My God never fails. In this situation, I was focused on my ability and my supply. What a sorry picture that made, but He stepped in and helped me see His perspective……..unlimited supply. I learned from this situation, that when my body is physically challenged and my life plate is full, I need to watch what my heart is meditating on because it will surely show in the heat of the trial.
Joyce puts it this way:
“You and I do not complain with our mouths unless we have first complained in our thoughts. Complaining is definitely a wilderness mentality that will prevent us from crossing over into the Promise Land. Jesus is our example, and we should do what He did. The Israelites complained and remained in the wilderness. Jesus praised and was raised from the dead.”
My dear friends, Jesus has called us to His place of promise…..let us choose not to remain in the wilderness any more. Step by step we will praise Him for all that He is and was and will be. For He is raising us from the dead places in our lives as we give Him all the praise. He is making a way where there seems to be no way, as we praise Him. Thankfulness out of our mouths allows our ears to hear and faith to be built up, which destroys unbelief. His faith in us moves mountains!
When we choose not to complain, He shines forth through us. This was proven to me this week also.
The next day after my complaining tantrum, I arrive at work and go outside for recess duty. Did I mention that it is snowing and the temperature is 1 degree? Here is the kindness of God……my co worker turns to me and says ” You are such a testimony. I never hear you complain and you are always so joyful.” Yes, my friends, this is me the same person who threw a fit because the medicine was $52.00. I had to laugh when she said that. Yet, it was truly a God moment…….He shined forth through me. Yes, I made a mistake the day before and I am still learning but there is evidence that HE lives in me.
He is helping me to set my heart to gratefulness. To think it , speak it and sing it. He is helping me to let the same attitude that was in Jesus to be in me. Jesus was calm, cool and collected and righteously angry. He never worried about the cost of feeding His disciples or the cost of taxes. He never doubted God’s ability to provide for Him or God’s plan for Him. That is my aim, through His grace.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Thank you for always teaching me in the way I should go. Especially this week, which was so filled with challenges for me. I repent for using my mind and my mouth in unbelief that manifested in complaining. I ask you help me set my heart to gratefulness, seeing from your perspective. Help me to not only think grateful thoughts but to speak gratefulness, so that I will hear and faith will be built in me. Thank you for being so kind to me. In Jesus name, Amen.