Some readers say I have a talent for writing; others admire my cartooning ability. But most have yet to recognize my real gift: complaining. Indeed, I am so good at grumbling that I’ve toyed with starting my own complaint vineyard and nonalcoholic whinery.
Every once in a while, however, I come to my senses, although not as often as one might wish. When it does happen, I realize what awful shape we’d be in if some of the great Bible heroes had gone with their first instinct and complained instead of acting courageously in the face of tough circumstances. Let me share a few incidents as they (thankfully) did not happen.
David and Goliath, as not told in 1 Samuel 17:32-40:
“David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of the Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’
“And then David left the tent of Saul, crying out, ‘Is there a servant around here who’d be willing to go out and take down the Philistine? Personally, I’m way too tired after all the walking I had to do just to get here.’”
As you can see, if David had complained instead of challenging Goliath, not only might we be singing “Only a Boy Named Fred,” we’d also wonder why God chose the little wimp to be crowned king of Israel.
Ruth and Naomi, as not told in Ruth 1:15-19:
“‘Look,’ said Naomi, ‘your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.’
“But Ruth replied, ‘Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ Once again speaking to Naomi, Ruth said, ‘On second thought, I think I’ll stay here in Moab. Maybe with you and your self-righteous meddling out of the picture, Orpah and I can finally get our home-based jelly bean business off the ground. See ya later, agitator.’”
In reality, the two godly women trudged the weary miles to Bethlehem together, Ruth setting an ageless example of unwavering loyalty and commitment.
Mary and the angel, as not told in Luke 1:30-38:
“‘Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said, but I’m not all that happy about it. I mean, you know as well as I do, Gabriel, that there’s no way anybody will believe I had nothing to do with getting pregnant! Besides, something tells me this is going to have a very unhappy ending.’”
No, instead Mary chose to trust God and give birth to Jesus, the Savior of the world. As for the unhappy ending, that had to be rewritten three days later, after a certain tomb was discovered empty.
Jesus, of course, had plenty of reasons to complain. All He did was give up His heavenly throne, become a creature instead of Creator, set out for Earth on a mission to save humanity—and He was thanked for everything by being handed a death sentence.
But instead of complaining, Jesus took a crossbeam on His shoulder and walked up a hill called Calvary.
Jesus, as told correctly in John 15:13:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”