Thursday, May 1, 2008

Complaints in Comfortable Places

Having my sister and her kids here last weekend reminded me of one of the funniest demonstrations my nephew ever made while I was visiting in their home. He was having a tantrum he felt he deserved one afternoon. My sister had been quite clear: no grapes until the green beans (a jar of disgusting mush if you ask me) were gone. Like his aunt, he thinks grapes are categorized wrongly: not fruit, but dessert!

He'd wiggled away from the table and was standing on the tiled kitchen floor arguing with his mom. "No!"

Calmly, Jennifer reminded him again: no grapes without the green beans first.

Russ dramatically fell to his knees, prepared to beg, plead, moan and groan when he suddenly realized, "This floor is hard." So he abruptly turned off the sirens and waterworks, stood up, and slowly walked to the nearest carpeted area. There, he proceeded to fall again to his knees, this time in the lush comfort of the berber, and resume his weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I laugh even now, thinking about how ridiculous it seems. Doing what was best for him wasn't important to him, so he wanted to complain about it. However, he only wanted to complain where he could be comfortable.

I think too many believers walk this way with God. He instructs us to be obedient, but we want to do something else, so we complain. Yet many of our complaints are coming from the lush comfort of our homes in a country where we experience incredible freedoms, blessings and luxuries. We sit in our beach/mountain vacation homes or on our high seas cruises and gripe about the people at work. We hear a sermon about sacrificial service or giving and bemoan our busy schedules and tightly-stretched pocketbooks from the comfort of our expensive SUVs.

We complain in some very comfortable places. But it's more than physical comfort. We didn't "get anything" out of the sermon so we complain that God doesn't care. We were "ignored" by someone at church, so we complain that God's people are unloving. Meanwhile, our hearts are souring within, but we sit comfortably in our self-righteousness, believing that we are without fault. Never realizing that our hearts were so full of ourselves there was no room left for really listening to God's. Never acknowledging that perhaps its our turn to initiate relationship and conversation for a change.

We complain in awfully comfortable places. It's really embarrassing, when I consider that the "great cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1) includes people like Corrie ten Boom who held firmly to her faith in a Nazi concentration camp and William Tyndale who was imprisoned, strangled and his body burned at the stake simply for translating the Bible into English for the commoners to read for themselves.

God, make me uncomfortable with complaining in comfortable places. Open my eyes to reality and your true perspective of my circumstances.

No comments: