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photography of a persons hand with stop signage

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If you can’t read this little stop sign, it says “stop and pray.”

Lately I’ve been pondering the idea of whining, and right on schedule this pastor I am fond of spoke of the very same thing. I just love that perfect synchronicity, that timing that affirmation, that validation.

“Whining” for those who need a definition is, “a long, high-pitched cry or sound,” or “complaining in a feeble or petulant way.” In the Bible the word often used is “murmuring.” The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years, trapped in their own murmuring, aka, “complaining in a  feeble and petulant way.”

I don’t want to pick on the Israelites because I think we modern people might be even worse. Chuckling here, but if you’ve ever had whiny kids, you probably understand why God might have left them to just have at it…..out of earshot.

I probably whine much less than most, not due to any particular virtue, but simply because I’m the oldest child and a caregiver and nobody’s listening anyway. Right? You know how it is when you have plenty to complain about yourself but you can’t get a word in edgewise because you’re too busy trying to handle everyone else’s complaints and whining??

In spite of that nature and circumstance, I still manage to whine an incredible amount of the time, partially because that’s who we are as people, total whiners. I whine about culture a lot, and politics. All in good humor here, but we often pretend political murmuring  isn’t whining, because we’ve labeled it very grown up, mature. We deceive ourselves because it is so totally whining.

Let me slip in a caveat here, it is completely okay to talk about what troubles you. Don’t bottle things up, don’t be a stoic, don’t silently endure abuse. The reason why we Christians should be alert to our own whining is because of the powerlessness that is ingrained in it. The power of life and death is in our tongue, we are the children of a Most High God, so we are supposed to be the precise opposite of, feeble and petulant.

I whine a lot to God, and I don’t want to say that is wrong, because there is no wrong way to talk to God. If you’re going to whine go right to the top, right to the Source. Besides, He loves to hear from us, to share our struggles. Much like I enjoy hearing from my kids, God loves to hear from us. It’s not God’s ear that needs protection, but our own ears. When we are whining we are affirming to ourselves that we are feeble and petulant, powerless.

God really confronted me about my whining once, ever so gently, but still. I was having a hellacious time of it, totally whine-worthy life circumstances. My job at the time was to prepare this dinner party for an elderly woman, filet mignon, wine, the whole works. She had a dining room table that was an antique, priceless, cost more than my house. I knew this because she’d just had it appraised and I was actually terrified of the thing.

She invited me to eat with her because she was all alone, terribly lonely, and we had a lovely time, but my mind was on other things and I was murmuring to the Lord in the back of my head, in a totally powerless way, feeble and petulant for sure. Suddenly I heard the audible voice of God say, “but I feed you well, don’t I?” It scared the heck out of me, but I laughed because the humor of the situation suddenly struck me. I was actually sitting there, eating the finest filet mignon on a priceless table, in the presence of my enemies….and hearing voices, too.

Suddenly my companion looked at me in wonder and said, “You believe in everlasting, don’t you?” And I do, and I did, and I preached to her like an anointed prophet of old, all about the goodness of God and how much He loves us, but I knew I was preaching to myself, too.

That’s the day I stopped whining and started just affirming the truth of who we really are in the Lord, instead. Well mostly. I still murmur sometimes about culture and politics and the total decline of humanity, but always, always with a keen understanding that God’s got this thing and that our job is simply to step into His full authority and to trust in Him.

 

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