Psalm 142:1-2, “I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before Him, and spell out my troubles in detail.” (MSG)
My dear friend Brett, in my opinion, has the absolute worse job in all the world…you see, Brett’s full-time job is handling consumer complaints! Now, he’s what I call a definite prime candidate for a lot of antacid commercials! Can you imagine getting calls all day long from people whose sole purpose in calling, is to tell you what they Don’t like? I mean honestly, who wants to listen to people dump on them for eight hours a day, even if you’re being paid for it? I mean non-stop, constant lit-up switchboards filled with miserable, angry, frustrated people just waiting for the first fool to pick up the phone and ask the dumb question, “How may I help you?”
His whole day is overwhelmed with complaints! “The light didn’t come on; can I get a refund; the commercial said; the salesman promised; what’s the return policy; can I talk to a manager; what do you mean there’s nothing you can do; can you fix this or not?!” And on and on and on goes Brett’s wonderful day at the office! He listens to complaining people all day long. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it, and in Brett’s case, it’s him.
However, Brett is not the only person qualified for the job of complaint control! Thank God!
In Psalm 142, David says this: “I cry aloud to the Lord.” Sure sounds like he’s hurting, struggling and frustrated, not to mention overwhelmed. “I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him. Before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who knows my way.” That’s a very interesting portrayal of where our complaints ought to go. God’s Throne Room – that’s where you ought to take your complaints. David said, “I pour out my complaint to HIM. It’s before the LORD I tell my trouble.” “He’s the One where I, in a sense, dump all of this hurt, and anger, and frustration.“
The Amplified Bible reads like this: “I cry aloud with my voice TO THE LORD; I make supplication with my voice TO THE LORD. I pour out my complaint BEFORE HIM; I declare my trouble BEFORE HIM. When my spirit was overwhelmed and weak within me [wrapped in darkness], You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right [the point of attack] and see; For there is no one who has regard for me [to act in my favor]. Escape has failed me and I have nowhere to run; No one cares about my life. I cried TO YOU, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. Give attention to my cry, for I am brought very low; Rescue me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than I. “Bring my soul out of prison (adversity), So that I may give thanks and praise Your name; The righteous will surround me [in triumph], for You will look after me.” (Psalm 142 AMP)
David helps to guide us in the direction to the right person in the complaint department for us to pour all our complaints on… and who is that? No one else but the LORD! How happy that would make Brett if only that was an opportunity of delegation for him on his job! But as for us, we don’t have to worry if Brett is in a good or bad mood, or if he showed up for work today, or even if he can help us, because when we have life complaints, we can go straight to the throne room of God, without need of anyone to speak on our behalf! We can simply pour out our complaint BEFORE HIM!
But truthfully, how often does that really happen? Let’s be honest. We all at one time or another have had the bad tendency to take our complaints other places, haven’t we? We complain to our friends, we complain about the other guy to everybody else except the guy, we complain to our family, we complain to our pastors and church members, we complain to our co-workers, and the only thing we accomplish is we get to drag them down with us! They were feeling great until we came along. And then, all of a sudden, this big, dark cloud came in with us. We start them thinking negatively about it too. And we sound like squeaky chalk irritating the ears of the entire classroom of students.
Now, I know you may not want to hear this, but there are people in your life today who will thank me for telling you this…We’re Tired of Listening to Your Complaining! “Girl, he said, she did, they went…”; “Bruh, the wife; the kids; the job”; “Pastor, the ushers, the choir, the preachers”; “Sis, can you help me with, because I only got…”
Believe it or not, but no one wants to be around someone who is always crying, complaining, murmuring, bickering, nit-picking, begging, needy, desperate, miserable, pessimistic, negative, argumentative, combative and confrontational…nor one who is always having a bad “why me” day, all 24 hours in a day, all 52 weeks, all 12 months, all 366 days! Nobody wants to entertain that voice in their ears as a non-stop, open for business 24 hours a day 7 days a week 366 days a year complaint department! Nobody…But…GOD! And sometimes you simply need to remind people that you are godly, but you are Not GOD!
Listen to 1 Peter 3:15: “Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” (TLB). A lot of folks can’t hear our hope because they hear more about our hassles! Think about it: how can we “quietly” tell them about the reason we trust Jesus as Lord in our lives, with all the craziness in our lives, and do so in a “gentle and respectful” manner, if all they are invited to hear from us is our miserable whining, crying, self-pity party?! How can we possibly persuade someone to trust Jesus, when we act as if we don’t?
I challenge you to listen to yourself sometimes. Step outside of yourself and just try to listen to the things you say. What’s coming out of your mouth? What do you say about your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your boss? Your coworkers? Your church? Your ministry? Your colleagues? Your auxiliary? Your pastor? Your health? Your diagnosis? Your life? Your future? Your finances? Your promotion or demotion? Your unemployment? Your hair? Your teeth? Your make-up? Your looks? Your clothes? Your figure? Your acne? Your stretchmarks? Your weight gain? Your family? Your parents? Your siblings? Your community? What is coming out of your mouth? And in the ears of those who are listening to you, is it “quiet”? Is it “gentle”? Is it “respectful”? If not, then why are you still saying it?
Hebrews 12:15 says, “Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it.” (AMPC)
That’s what happens when your bitter, resentful, hate-filled voice gets in the hearing of others…it’s like a poison that seeps in under the skin of the Body of Christ and infects all its many members! It causes trouble and bitter torment and MANY become contaminated and defiled by it! It functions as a cancer that quickly spreads throughout the body killing it off member by member. Which should make you think twice before opening your mouth to complain to the wrong people ever again! Your bad disposition about life is like death to a decaying body, it destroys every part of it until there’s nothing left! Do you really want to bear that responsibility?!
If not, you need to ask yourself honestly, am I becoming a complainer?
Now, before you go off the negative deep-end again, let me clarify. David didn’t say, “don’t complain.” That would be denying the pain; denying your real feelings. I would never suggest people, even believers, walk around delusional, acting as if they are not experiencing life pain! I have never been a fan of the phrase, “fake it, till you make it!” And I’m not about to start becoming a fan of it now. So, your complaint isn’t the real problem. Let’s continue to see what is: The word “complain” itself means “to express dissatisfaction, grief, pain, discontent or annoyance; to state the reason one is suffering.” Its Old French Origin “complaindre”, from Latin “complangere” literally means “to bewail or lament.” Which also means “to plaint”. The word “plaint” means “lamentation; wail; complain.” It’s Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin “planctus”, from “plangere” which means “to strike, or beat one’s breast.” Which causes us to understand its related words which are: “to bellyache; gripe; growl; grumble; holler; moan; murmur; nag; scream; whimper; quarrel; bemoan; cry; sob; agonize; sorrow; weep; outcry; anguish; heartache; heartbreak; and woe.” You see, in a nutshell: Complaining is expressing an emotion of hurt, which isn’t bad, because even Jesus expressed His emotions. But for us, the problem comes in when we express those emotions to the wrong people.
David shows us that God Himself invites us to pour out our complaints to Him. Because at the end of the day, He’s the Only One who can do something about it.
Listen to David in the Message Bible: “I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before Him, and spell out my troubles in detail: “As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, You know how I’m feeling, know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path. Look right, look left – there’s not a soul who cares what happens! I’m up against it, with no exit – bereft, left alone. I cry out, God, call out: ‘You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!’ Oh listen, please listen; I’ve never been this low. Rescue me from those who are hunting me down; I’m no match for them. Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank You in public. Your people will form a circle around me and You’ll bring me showers of blessing!” (MSG)
David said, “I cry out loudly to GOD, loudly I plead with GOD…I spill out all of my COMPLAINTS BEFORE HIM…YOU KNOW HOW I’M FEELING…I cry out, GOD…”
David doesn’t seek to speak with any of the angels, he goes straight to the Almighty! Which is why a lot of people bypass the complaint department sometimes and go right to the manager/president. They say, “Hey, I want action! So forget the complaint guy; I’m going straight to the top!” Well, that’s actually the right place to go! Sometimes it’s appropriate to go to an offending person and confront them in order to seek healing. And, of course, it’s appropriate to share our burden with other people and ask them to pray for us. But first, dump all your garbage at your Lord’s feet. Go to the top! Get the emotions out before Him. Get some objectivity, some perspective that comes from being in God’s presence with all that stuff.
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] ON HIM, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (AMPC)
The Throne Room of God is the complaint department of the universe. So, let God deal with your complaints. You won’t get action by complaining to all the employees. Skip them and go straight to the top! After all it is HE that said to cast ALL! He didn’t say tell me about what happened yesterday, or a portion of last night. Nor does He say you can tell me about your career, but I don’t want to hear all that stuff about your cancer. NO! God wants all of it! Every Care, Every Anxiety, Every Worry, Every Concern, Every Complaint! He can handle it, people cannot!
Now, there are several things I absolutely love about what David shares in Psalm 142.
One, David didn’t attempt to water down how he felt. ‘He cried LOUDLY to God!’ No eloquent speech, just a loud cry! You need to do the same, but to God, not to people! Stop spilling your guts then wondering why everybody knows everything about your life. It’s because of you! If you talked more to God, than to them, they wouldn’t have so much insider information!
Two, David tells us a truth that we fail to remember quite often: “YOU KNOW HOW I’M FEELING”. God does, people don’t! Psalm 139 informs us that God knew all of our days before we ever lived one. Knows us inside and out. So, why not go to Him instead of Tyrone or Michelle? After all, would you take your Lexus to Ford and ask what’s wrong with it? Selah!
Three, David says, “You Know the Danger I’m In”, God is the one who knows, not Keisha. And telling Keisha changes nothing anyhow. God is the one you talk to when the foreclosure notice is on the way; when the diagnosis isn’t favorable; when the kids are straying; when the marriage is failing; when the business is going under; when the ministry doors are about to close; when your parent is about to die; when your lights are about to be cut off; when they’re about to repossess the car; when you get handed a pik slip! What is Keisha supposed to do about all of that? God knows what you’re in danger of in your David Dungeon, therefore, take it to Him!
Four, before David comes up out the cave, he makes a vow to God in advance: “Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank You in public.” Which is our great admonishment, believe that God can and will and prepare your public thanksgiving in advance, by faith! David had a praise of thanks already ready! He wasn’t hoping God would, but he declared, “Get me out of this…” He spoke of God’s ability, are you speaking the same?
And lastly David says, “Your people will form a circle around me and You’ll bring me showers of blessing!” This is the part that we get backwards, because as soon as we’re in danger of problems beyond our ability to handle, we immediately go down to the altar waiting for the saints to surround us in a circle, pray, and make it all better. No, I’m afraid that’s not how this works! You go to God first, when God delivers you, you thank Him in public with the rest of the saints!
People of God, it’s time we reflect the faith we say we live by. We can’t persuade people about God, running to people about our problems. Does that mean we can’t confide in our brothers and sisters? Absolutely not, the book of James even encourages this. But many of us have made that our first resort and it should not be so. Should we be complaining, pounding our chest in grief as if we’re going down for the last time? Wailing, moaning, grumbling, negative, hopeless and helpless. No, that is not a reflection of our faith. We believe God to do it, so we take the hard thing to Him, not to him or her. Our complaint is to be poured out to God, He alone can Save, Heal and Deliver.
We need to have a reason for people to look at us and see what we’re going through with challenges, trials, struggles, and pain. We need them to look at us and ask, “how do you go through this and not fall apart? How do you handle this like you are? Show me!” People don’t need to see more of our frowns; hear more of our complaints; and feel more of our burdens. They need to see how we carry our load, walking by faith. And even when the journey sends us to the complaint department, we’re only there to speak with one person, God!
Let today be the day you pour out your complaints to God instead of family, friends, coworkers, church members, or even social media. Let today be the day that you reflect your trust in God and His ability to heal your hurt; to fix what’s broken; to mend what’s torn; to build up what’s been demolished; to repair what fell apart! Let’s live, and speak, and act, in such a way that people have to stop and question us about our Jesus. Let’s give people a reason to trust Him just the same!
I’ll close with this: Sometimes, especially when you have your own home, you feel like a waste management engineer. You get to collect and take out the garbage. But take it from me, you do not want to buy cheap garbage bags, or maybe don’t wait as long as I have in the past to take the garbage out. Here’s the problem. You’ve just tied up a brimming bagful of things you really don’t want to see any more, you don’t want to smell them anymore, you no longer even want it around you anymore. It’s all supposed to be in the garbage can. But sometimes it doesn’t make it there when the bag rips open and dumps it all over the kitchen floor! Truth is, taking out the garbage isn’t bad, but allowing it to get dumped in the wrong place is. Which is the same about your complaints of hurt, pain and frustration. It’s not that you have them, it’s where you take them and dump them. It doesn’t belong to other people, but the Word of God tells you where you can dump it! “I pour out my complaint before HIM; before HIM I tell my trouble.” Bring your complaints straight to God. First, He’s not going to be hurt by them. He’s not going to be poisoned by them like the people around you will. Secondly, He can do something about your complaints much more than the people around you can do. Now, we all go through some garbage in our lives, and it’s true we often need a place to dump that garbage. And, God has offered us a wonderful place to do just that. Of all places, in His Throne Room. But if you’ve been dumping on the people around you instead, you’ve been unloading garbage where it is not supposed to be and you’ve probably been polluting them in the process. They don’t need it (they’ve got their own), and besides your Father would hate to find out you’ve been polluting the environment.
Saints, take it to God, first. He doesn’t care what it looks or smells like, or how long you’ve had it lying around the house. He just wants you to dump it on Him, not them (and preferably, before the bag breaks)!
We often complain about people spreading gossip, lies, rumors, and the like. But truth is, it’s hard to misinterpret silence. In other words, people usually have so much verbal garbage to spread around because we took the lids off the garbage cans in our lives and in the lives of others and gave them access to rummage through. Therefore, as soon as someone comes to you with ‘what they heard’, immediately let them know if there’s nothing positive and productive I need to do with the information you feel vital to share with me, DON’T! I don’t need you to give me anything that I need to do nothing with. And even for your own personal lives, when going through varying trials, take it to God, not people (or social media)! You can’t get mad when they put your name and life on the front cover of messy tabloids and it was you that wrote and shared the article of your struggles! David took his complaints and poured them out to God, follow is example! Enter your prayer closet and take your complaints to God!
“When you pray, God listens; When you listen, God talks; When you believe, God responds.” (Author Unknown)
“God speaks to those who take time to listen, and He listens to those who take time to pray.” (Author Unknown)
“God is the best listener. You don’t need to shout or cry out loud because He hears even the very silent prayer of a sincere heart.” (Author Unknown)
“Pray, not until God hears you, but pray until you hear God.” (Author Unknown)
“God listens to all your spoken and unspoken prayers, and grants the ones which are the best for you. Have faith. Trust Him.” (Author Unknown)
“When you can’t put your prayer into words, God hears your heart.” (Author Unknown)
“Our God listens to us. Our God is a living God. He’s not a block of wood you made up that’s not going to answer you. My God listens to me. He answers me.” (Francis Chan)
“Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.” (Author Unknown)
“When we pray, God hears more than we say, answers more than we ask, gives more than we imagine, in His own time and His own way.” (Author Unknown)
“When you need, God knows. When you ask, God listens. When you believe, God works.” (Author Unknown)
“Talk with God, no breath is lost. Walk with God, no strength is lost. Wait for God, no time is lost. Trust in God, you will never be lost.” (Author Unknown)
“Pray daily. God is easier to talk to than most people.” (Author Unknown)
“God is always ready to listen anytime you are ready to talk to Him. Prayer is simply talking with God.” (Author Unknown)
“Talking to God is like talking to a friend on the telephone. We may not see Him on the other end, but we know He’s listening.” (Author Unknown)
“God will lead you where He wants you to be, but you have to talk to Him daily to see where He wants you to go. The key is prayer.” (Author Unknown)
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