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Way back when we only had three children who were all very young, Chris and I had the desire to stop renting and buy a house. But our income was meager meaning that what we could afford was also meager. We ended up in a double-wide mobile home situated on an acre of land in the country. Our plan was to be there only a couple years, then we would be able to buy something bigger and nicer. We were proud of our home, and very happy … at first.
Soon enough, however, we were there for five years and no closer to being able to move out than when we started. My household also grew. We now had six children whom we also homeschooled. Our tiny cardboard house with pitiful closets and no garage was brimming with 8 people and all the stuff we needed to live and do school. I trusted in the Lord and lived in His strength — most days.
But then I had days when it was all too much for me. It wasn’t fair, other people could just move at a whim while I was stuck here. I was discontent and had regular pity parties that God had to pull me from. During those times I would complain, not aloud to other people (except to my poor husband), but I would complain to God. I would express my frustration that my youngest two had to sleep on cots on the floor because I didn’t have enough room for two more beds. I would go into my monologue about how difficult life was as I had to squeeze all our homeschooling supplies into every nook and cranny and there was barely room for everyone to do their schoolwork! Didn’t God care?
I still read my bible consistently as I sought God’s peace. He speaks to us through His word and often His correction would come crashing down on me as I sought His guidance. At times, these reprimands of my poor attitude came as I read about the Children of Israel. On this particular instance, they were in the second year of their desert wanderings.
Now the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes…Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt…the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic. But now…there is nothing but this manna to look at! Numbers 11:1-9
It’s amazing to me how fickle people can be. God was miraculously providing for the Israelites’ needs. Everyday when they went outside to gather the manna, they could physically see God’s presence and love and care. But they complained about their misfortunes! They complained that they had to eat the bread of heaven instead of meat, cucumbers, garlic and leeks!
Oh, but God was showing me that I was doing the same thing! Complaining of all the things that I didn’t have but thought I deserved, rather than focusing how He was providing for us. Because even in all the chaos, God was taking care of us. He had given us a house to live in. It kept us dry in stormy weather, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. He had also given us a low mortgage relative to the small house. While housing costs continued to raise for those in town, our living expenses stayed low. God had blessed us with that. Who was I to complain?
Not to mention the free gift of salvation that God blessed me with. Even while I was dead in my sins and hated Him, Christ died for me giving me salvation rather than what my sins deserved. (Eph 2:1; Rom 5:8; 6:23) In addition to that, God has promised He is not done with me yet. Philippians 1:6 exclaims, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God was teaching me through this trial, removing the dross and sanctifying me causing my heart to be more like Christ (James1:2-4).
Just as the Children of Israel did not remain in the desert forever, but God brought them through it into the Promised Land, I knew He would provide a way for us as well. Reminders of His faithfulness are abundant throughout scripture, and I eagerly searched them out.
If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul.
When life has become rocky and all you really want to do is complain, it is imperative to focus on God’s blessings instead (read this post). Remember what has He done for you and what is He doing for you. Seek out scripture and He will give you His peace. I have several Psalms that are my go-to scriptures when I am feeling this way including 34, 37, 55-57, 61-63, 66, 86, also Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:4-8 among others. What scriptures do you turn to when all you want to do is complain about life’s circumstances?
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