Turning Complaints into Praise

Do you have a reason to complain? Is something not working the way it is supposed to? I think, if we all took a moment, we could all find a reason to complain about something.

I’m thinking about the other morning when my family and I were getting ready to go on vacation. I had asked my son to make sure the trash was taken out, the floor was swept, and the dishes were washed and put up before we left, lest we have to deal with an ant invasion when we come home.

As I finished my needed tasks outside, I came back inside to see my son playing Nintendo, not doing anything I had asked him to do. You could see how he had started the projects but didn’t finish them. Time was of the essence. We had a plane to catch! So I got him up and worked alongside him to make sure that it was done, and done right. The whole time I was thinking that I have to help him do this because, Lord forbid, he wouldn’t do it himself.

My heart was not in a good place.

As I picked up the half-washed dishes, only to have to rewash them, all I could think of was how burdensome all of this was and how I shouldn’t have to be doing this. My son should be the one, and it should have been done right the first time.

My emotions raged, and then a passage hit me. In Paul’s first letter to Thessalonica, 5:16-18, it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

All I could think about was, “Yeah, Paul, that’s easier said than done.” Then it hit me right between the eyes. There were blessings that God had for me right now. I had a floor to sweep. It was my floor, in my home, that God provided. We not only had dishes, but those dishes were dirty because of the wonderful food we had eaten the night before. I had a son right there helping me, and even though he didn’t do the job right the first time, he truly was willing to work with me to do it right this time, so I wouldn’t have to do it alone.

Then I thought about all the other times I would find myself complaining and how there was always a blessing amid the perceived disruptions. What if I would be willing to take the time to seek it? And to choose to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God for the blessings right in front of me? Like a home with floors that need to be swept to provide shelter and protection for my family.

That is how God has shown me to even turn my complaints into praise, just like Paul says in verse 18. “This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Why? Because when you can see the blessings amid the complaint and turn your complaints into praise, life truly is better, and more abundant and full. Just as Jesus intended and promised it would be.

Brandon Zoll is pastor of the Church of God of Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2631. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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