Thou Shalt Not Whine

Article by Glenn Meldrum
in Brush Arbor Quarterly # 6 2007

We are all subject to whining. In this article Glenn Meldrum related the lesson God taught him when he began to whine.

Mr. Meldrum was given a gift that was meant to be a joke. It was a small tapestry that said "Thou shalt not whine." Every time he starts to whine the tapestry is right before him. He says he never thought a little wall-hanging could be so convicting.

As a young believer and minister he and his wife worked in an inner-city church in Detroit, Michigan. He had been presented with the erroneous idea that if we are in God's will then life and ministry would go easy. He was to find out life and ministry can be very hard.

He put his whole self into the church. He gave of his home, his money, his time. It cost him everything.

Eventually he started complaining. The the Lord gave him a rebuke that he would never forget. God spoke to him from the scriptures. Jeremiah 12:5 "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by Jordan?" The Lord warned him; "Child, stop your whining! You haven't seen a fierce battle yet."

The Lord's rebuke shook him to the bone. God was exposing a sinful part of his character and it hurt to see the truth.

Our complaining makes us miserable, inflicts misery upon those closest to us and slanders Christ before the world. Most terrifying of all, God's strong displeasure rests upon complainers. Numbers 11: 1 "Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them His anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." God hasn't changed His mind about complaining.

Mr. Meldrum talks about Paul and how he strove to be like his Lord. (Acts 9: 16,20,22-23: Galatians 6: 17; II Corinthians 11 : 23-28). Paul's character demonstrates what it means to make Jesus LORD of our lives no matter what we face or have to endure. Whining was not an option for Paul.

From experience Peter came to understand the value of suffering. (I Peter 3: 15) Complaining is telling God that we don't want His Lordship over our lives, that we think His plans for us are detrimental to our desires and agendas. If we had the fear of God we would tremble when we comprehend that our complaining is an accusation against the character of God, an attack upon His very person.

The seeming unfairness of the pain and suffering we experience can make us reel as if we are being driven by a raging sea. At such times complaining is something we are all tempted to do.

When the waves are ferocious and it seems that the storm will swallow us up, if we look upon the water we will see Christ as He comes walking out to meet us. We have to get out of the worthless boat we have constructed of self-trust and self-absorption and keep our eyes on Christ. His hands are there to rescue us, we are sake in His arms.

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