Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No Whining!

I'm sure you've seen a bumper sticker or sign somewhere that shouts "no whining". Call it whining, murmuring, complaining--it's all the same message, "poor me". In our own mind we have been badly treated or at least haven't gotten "what's fair", so we begin to feel sorry for ourselves. I'm not sure the word whining even appears in the Bible, but the sentiment certainly is.

When we have problems or tragedy strikes us, we tend to think we are the only ones who have ever had such problems, or such a problem, or our particular tragedy, but that is seldom the case. The first part of 1 Cor. 10:13 says that no temptation that is not common to man will come our way--in other words, others have had the same problems we're having and some of them even worse.

Dana and I have lost two homes--one in St. Croix to hurricane Marilyn in 1995 and the one we still live in, in Columbia to a fire. In both of them we lost almost everything we had, but no one was even injured and God provided all we needed to rebuild and begin again. When I've been tempted to think "poor me" I remember another couple we know who have lost 3 homes--2 to floods and one to a fire. Even more tragic was the loss of 3 children in the fire. Thank you Lord that we were all safe during Marilyn and were not in the house when it caught on fire--the firemen told us our fire was the kind that killed people.

"But my husband left me to raise my children all alone." I have not personally experienced that, but I think I can imagine many of the trials and the hard work this brings--working one or two jobs to pay the bills, while still making time to talk to, teach, etc. your kids. The not knowing where the next meal is coming from and having to seek help with practically every aspect of life, from child care, to finances, to home repairs, car repairs, etc. But I know, not 1, but 2, sisters who got married and left their homes to seek work in a far off place. While still in their early 30's their husband died, leaving them with kids. Both of them later remarried and had more children, only to have that husband leave them for a younger woman. Neither one of them had much education so one worked as a cashier at K-mart while the other worked as a waitress. Oh did I mention that one of them had a son killed at school (high school) and the next son turned up with mental illness at around 20. The other sister has a son who left home and the family at about 16 to live in the drug culture.

I trust you get the picture. Not only are our problems not unique to us but most of the time there are other people just like us who have even worse problems. Let us rest on the promise God has given to not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear and forgetting the things which are behind, let us press on toward the high calling of God without whining.


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