His Gates With Thanksgiving
With Complaining, Stay Outside)
If we feel far from God, the cause might be
that we have adopted a complaining attitude. Thanksgiving
opens the gates into the presence of the Lord (Psalm 100:4);
complaining slams them shut.
Philippians 2:14 says, "Do all things
without grumbling or questioning." This word "questioning"
does not refer to the questioning of a submissive heart (such
as when Mary asked, "How can this be since I have no
husband?") Rather, it refers to the unholy questioning which
insults God by calling His character into question: "Why did
God allow...? Why didn't God...? Why would God let...? Why
does the Lord...?"
People sometimes look at God with an eye of
suspicion, questioning His wisdom or His motives. The Bible
describes such accusatory questionings as "speaking against
God" and as "putting God to the test."
Complaining and questioning slander God,
and they also reveal pride. If we are critical of what God is
doing or allowing, we are setting ourselves up as God's
judges. We are thus exalting ourselves above God. For example,
I will charge God with injustice only if I consider myself
more just than He. I set the standard, and He doesn't live up
to my standard. The implication is that I could run things
better than He is doing it. Face it. The world would be a
better place if I were on the throne.
We are freed from these bad attitudes when
we hold on to one simple truth: God is good. He is
always good. He can't be any other way. His nature is
good, and He always acts in accordance with His nature. We
must hold steadfastly to our knowledge that God is good
because appearances will sometimes indicate otherwise.
Circumstances are not always good, but God always is. We must
refuse to listen for a moment to any libels on His character
or His ways.
Jesus says in John 10:11, "I am the good
shepherd." Whereas a bad shepherd will sometimes neglect or
forsake his sheep, or treat his sheep in an unkind manner
because of his own selfishness, the good shepherd always
works in the best interests of his sheep--even at the cost of
his own life.
The prayers of a grumbler grieve God's
heart: "Lord, why did You let this happen? I don't understand.
Why don't You talk to me? Lord, why don't you show me what
Your will is? I've prayed about it a hundred times. I'm
willing to do my part if You'll just do Your part." In short
the grumbling heart says, "You are a bad shepherd. You're not
good to me. I don't trust You."
Those who allow the truth about God's
nature to penetrate their hearts approach God with humility
and thankfulness: "Lord, thank you for being so good to me.
I'm drowning in your blessings! Lord, I don't understand all
that's happening in my life, but I trust in You. I thank You
that You are causing all things to work together for my good."