Just about every parent has heard this complaint in one way or another. “You never do anything for me.” Perhaps it is because our child’s friend just got that latest greatest smartphone while she has to use last year’s model. Or, maybe he hasto share a room with his brother and his friend has his own room complete with LCD TV! In love, we overlook the ingratitude, though failure to appreciate a home, a full table, and all that we provide does sting.
Not so long ago I was drawn into a conversation that was full of bitter complaint. “What has God ever done for me? Why should I trust Him?” I wanted to remind the person that he was breathing air the Lord provided, enjoying salvation He purchased with His life, and living in a world that He made.
Yes, we all forget His providence from time to time.
God’s people were led out of slavery in Egypt, ate manna every day that He gave, and lived under His umbrella of protection. Were they grateful and obedient? “He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them …But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test.” (Psalm 106:13-14, NIV)
With all the excesses of an American Christmas thrown at us, we, like those ancient people, can “soon forget what God has done” for us. The family scenes and celebrations make my heart so sad this year. I can quickly slip into self-pity and complain bitterly. It’s not pretty! What about you? What triggers your complaints? Is it that new car your brother showed off last week? How about the trip to Europe your neighbor has scheduled, or the home that is twice the size of yours? There are hundreds of ‘reasons’ we can complain, if that is what we choose to do.
The passage I quoted helps us to understand that our ungrateful attitude is more than just being rude. When we complain against Him, it is just a short step to self-will, to making our own way, then to indulging our sinful nature. When we become rebels, we cut ourselves off from His fellowship, walk alone, and invite His discipline. Don’t do it!
If your heart is boiling with emotion, seething with resentment, find a quiet place and hit the pause button on life for a while. Exercise your power of choice and take control of those impulses, presenting them to God. Need to cry? Go ahead. Need to scream? Go for a ride in your car and let it out! And, get perspective. A good faithful friend who won’t fan the flames of your sense of entitlement is a gift. Ask that friend to listen, to turn your heart back to the One who loves you deeply.
God is a wonderful Father. He is full of mercy. In this Advent Season, let’s be people who remember all the gifts that He provides in grace, even when life disappoints us.
Here is a word from the Word. “Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help, He remembered his Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand. He poured out his mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.
Save us, God, our God! Gather us back out of exile So we can give thanks to your holy name and join in the glory when you are praised!” (Psalm 106:44-47, The Message)
Love Came Down At Christmas
Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate love divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign
Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign
Love shall be our token
Love be yours and love be mine
Love to God and all men
Love for plea and gift and sign
Love for plea and gift and sign
For plea for gift for sign
Christina Georgina Rossetti | Gilbert M. Martin
© Words: Public Domain