Complaining is Okay

Accepting God’s will does not mean no complaining. Feeling the need to complain when things don’t go as you’d like is part of being a normal human being; and it is important to be honest with God rather than to pretend. Job’s life had turned from wonderful to horrible in a matter of days. It was nothing that Job had done or not done. He was a good man. In fact, God himself said that Job was righteous and that the death of all his children, loss of wealth, and the loss of his health was “without cause.” Job’s friends were convinced that he’d committed some horrible sin and if only he’d confess, all could be well again. Job knew better and simply complained about his fate. He was willing to accept whatever came his way, commenting at one point, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” But that didn’t keep him from voicing how he felt about his circumstances. He didn’t try to pretend he was okay, or that he wasn’t angry. He told God that he was unhappy with him and that he thought he’d done him wrong. In the end, God agreed with him, telling Job’s “friends” that their ideas about God and what was going on were completely wrong, in contrast to Job whose words had been right. (Job 1:13-22, 9:27-10:1, 42:7-8)

Some Christians get the mistaken idea that they are supposed to be happy regardless of what happens and that it is somehow sinful to get mad at God, let alone to admit to it or to tell him so. But Job tells us that God values honesty in his relationships. After all, he knows what we’re really thinking anyway. Why pretend? Lying isn’t exactly a virtue, whether we’re doing it to ourselves or to a friend or to God.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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