Listening to many of us talk, you’d swear that Philippians 4:4 said, “Grumble always before the Lord, again I will say, Grumble.” Church people don’t have a monopoly on whining, but that’s largely because we like to whine so much that we just give it away for free.
Grumbling kicks humility in the shins. The two don’t like each other, though grumbling usually does most of the smack talk. Grumbling prefers to perch above the situation, to take the judges chair, and to pronounce all his unfulfilled expectations about schedules and traffic and disobedient kids and work hours and weather and Bible teachers. Humility doesn’t deny bad things, but humility also knows that bad things aren’t as bad as he deserves.
Grumbling drives away and leaves hope standing alone. Grumbling partners with his pal Unbelief and they love to predict how bad it probably will be. Grumbling pleads the law of uniformity: the same laws and processes that operate in the universe have always operated in the past and will continue to apply everywhere now and in the future. It has been bad, it won’t get any better. Hope sees past the fray by remembering the gospel and the promises of a sovereign God who loves to tell redemption stories.
We cannot fight grumbling with indifference. God does not aim to make us uncomplaining but lethargic onlookers, He aims to make us rejoicers. He implores us to rejoice, not mainly because happy people will live a few more years, but mainly because eternal life is sharing God’s life. He is glad and so He calls us to quit our complaining.