Complaint Line Starts Here

Have you ever had a really bad day?  Like, really bad, where from start to finish, everything that could possibly go wrong went spectacularly wrong?  Those days where, by 9 am, you’re ready to throw in the towel and call it a day, head back home, and go to bed?  I will admit proudly that I have had many of those days.

At the end of those days it’s good to go out with friends, have a beer, and lament about how terrible of a day we had, and I’m sure it’s just as good to be able to go home and talk with a spouse about the terrible, no-good day.  If our friends, spouses, or partners are worth their salt, they’ll let us whine and complain and cry for as long as we need to, never saying much more than a “mmhmm” or “ah” or “yeah”.  Then, when we’re finally finished, when we’ve gotten out our final complaint, when we’ve run out of breath and tears and problems, and everything is on the table, it is at that moment that the person we’ve confided in decides to speak.

They might offer up some sage words of advice; they might wrap their arms around us to comfort us; they might tell us we’re totally in the right and the problem needs to be fixed.  Yet, they might tell us we’re the problem and we need to fix ourselves; they might tell us we’re wrong; they might tell us we need to forgive.  Sometimes, they might say absolutely nothing at all and will let us sit in front of our big pile of messiness until it’s time to go home.

There was a time in my life when I was nearly non-stop complaining to God about my life: why did I get my heart broken, why couldn’t I find a job, when was I going to get ahead, why was the world a shit-storm, when would it start to turn around for the better, what was the meaning of it all?  I had a million questions, complaints, and problems to get out to God, and I was getting more and more frustrated by the day because there was no answer.  I would call out in a loud voice, screaming to the heavens for some reply, only to hear the silence around me.  The next day I would drop to my knees and beg for just a whisper from someone and be left on the ground.  The following day I would stare at the bible on my desk and complain for a good hour about how I refused to read that gibberish until God would at least acknowledge my list of complaints and questions.

For days and weeks this would continue: a one-man shouting match at God about everything in my world that I had complaints about, and getting no response.  I thought God either wasn’t there, wasn’t listening, or didn’t care.  When I had exhausted myself, when I had lost my spiritual voice, when I had put everything out on the table and had stopped in silence because I had nothing more to say, it was in that moment that God began to answer my call.

There are times when God will allow us to whine and moan until we exhaust ourselves before He begins to speak.  There are times when God will sit, like our friends at the bar, and let us get it all out before saying anything.  He might throw in a “mmhmm” or an “I know…” but for the most part God might be silent.  God will let us put everything out on the table before speaking, because He knows we won’t listen until we’ve had our say – until we’ve complained and whined and said it all.  Then God will look at it all with us and say, “Okay.  My beloved, you’ve got a lot on your plate, and we’re going to get through this.  First, let’s work on…” and slowly, patiently, calmly – but with determination – God will guide us through our pile of stuff and help us sort it all out.

God might throw some things away.  God might tell us that we’re going to have to hang on to some things a little longer.  God might tell us how to deal with other things.  God might heal us, or God might let us struggle a little longer.  But God will be there at the table with us, showing us how to get through it all.

much love. sheth.

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