Does anyone ever get in one of those moods where one thing is tough and it seems like everything is tougher and you begin to complain about things? I have been in one of those moods lately. I live here in Memphis, home of great barbecue and incredible humidity. Now I am not much of a complainer and I try to have a positive outlook on things for the majority of the time. I do from time to time but most of the time I catch myself and don’t let my complaining make it past a few complaints. But the other day it started off as innocent, I complained that it was so hot due to the humidity. And things began to roll downhill from there. I just started getting frustrated quicker and I got in a little bit of a funk. Just a complaining funk. Somethings would be small and not very big issues like why is it not pay day yet? or why do these people not know how to drive? And others would be bigger issues such as why is it so hard to pick a curriculum that is good for my students and will grow them? My head was not connected to my heart. In my mind I knew I shouldn’t be complaining but the outflow of my heart continued to complain. I was at a point where I had to ask myself “Thad, why is your heart so downtrodden?” I traced it back to the root of the problem through some reflection and it got back to me complaining to someone that it was hot. *Sidenote: Temperature was 98 today with a 109 heat index.*
Today as I was entering into my time with the Lord. I kept getting this “Read Acts 16:16-25” in my head. So after I prayed this morning I opened up my Bible to the 16th chapter of Acts and started reading. It was about Paul and Silas and how they cast a demon out of a little girl and the owners of that girl were angered. They drug Paul and Silas to the town’s marketplace and beat them with rods. But the story does not end there. In Verse 25 it says
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Then it hit me. I am complaining about the heat and these guys got beat with rods and thrown into prison and they still worshiped God. They sang praises to God hours after they were beaten senseless by wooden rods that were tied together. There was so much conviction in that moment. I was complaining about everything because I had complained about the heat on a warm Memphis summer day. But these guys blessed the Lord and worshiped even though they were in prison and were in terrible physical shape just hours after they had the tar beaten out of them by people who did not care for them.
Here I am. A blessed person because I was born in America, raised by great parents, went to an awesome school, and now have a great job. And I being so privileged am sitting here complaining about the heat. When I have friends in Nicaragua who work in a dump for everything. They are surrounded by wild dogs and trillions of flies and they live off of the dump. They claw for everything that they have and yet they do not complain but are joyful. I am in no shape to complain.
Today I am thankful for a God who convicts me when I get to caught up in the American lifestyle and the blessings that have been bestowed upon our country. Thankful for a God who fights for me through grace to have joy even through trials. Today I didn’t find the cure all for complaints or excuses. But today I found another aspect of God that I am truly thankful for. Conviction. Today I found joy through my complaints because I have a God that loves me so much that he won’t let me just look at me.
If you are in this place were you are struggling to find joy because of __________ situation. I encourage you to talk to someone about it. But most of all look toward God and position yourself under the waterfall that is grace and let it cascade over you. Be honest with God about where you are and then wait under that waterfall of grace and the Lord will renew you.
Still learning how to swim in this deep ocean called faith,