Complaining to God

Is it alright to complain to God?

When Israel complained in their desert journey to the Promised Land, God brought his wrath in many forms.

Paul Miller, in his book Praying Life, argues that when Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary,” he was telling us to come with all our sourness and all our complaints.  After all, how else do we express ourselves as people when we’re weary! 

The verdict is out for me one which way to go, but I gave Paul Miller’s angle a shot last night and vomited every concern and complaint I could think of into God’s lap.  It felt pretty wrong.  In the moment it felt like a conversation you never bring up with your maker.  When you give yourself the freedom to complain, you find you’re much more of sour person than you thought.

At least two good things came out of the experience though – thanks and trust.  In the midst of my rant, I couldn’t help but carry a side tally of all the good things I have to be thankful for which far outweigh the bad.  Although I’m not sure what to expect in the moments at hand, my faith gave me a powerful assurance that God is still at work in this world with an ultimate redemptive good.

My complaints to God turned back to praise when handed over to him.  I came with all my unholiness, and he turned me back to holy.

I could still go either way on the issue, but I think there may be something to being brutally honest in our conversations with God.

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2 responses to “Complaining to God

  1. I think God wants us to be brutally honest with him. He wants us to express our fears, anger, ssorrows … and joys. However, I don’t think He appreciates it when we are ungrateful for His provision. He gives us a nice house and we want a bigger and better house. He gives us a vehicle that gets us safely from point A to point B and we want a new Mustang … you get the point. God had led Israel out of slavery in Egypt and was providing them with food each day, but they weren’t happy with the food He was providing … so they complained … about His provision … about His plan for them … They were acting like spoiled children, so He disciplined them. I think God will do the same for us if we complain to Him about His provision: “God you haven’t blessed me with enough money to pay my bills” (although I own two brand new cars and a house I can’t afford). However, I think He understands if I am upset (possibly with Him) or afraid or complain because my child or spouse died or because I have cancer. He will comfort us and give us strength when we reach out to Him in those low times when we are weak and sad and mad … even if we do so in an angry manner.

  2. Great thoughts Chris. I think it’s the topic of our concerns that are important to monitor, more so than the temperament.

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