Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings in Scripture
Psalm 55.2 Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan.
Psalm 142.2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I tell my trouble before Him.
Are you a stoic? Philosophically I mean. The Stoics of Biblical times held a point of view that has often crept into the Church under the guise of being trust in the sovereignty of God. It is a perverse, fatalistic form of divine sovereignty, and we can fall into it pretty easily.
The Stoics were those who bought into the concepts popularized by Zeno in the 4th century B.C. Zeno (the happy guy is pictured above) and his lot lived under the sense that Fate binds all. Even god. As a result, they sought to live a life of disinterested virtue. To think in terms of desire itself being wrong. Pleasure was not good in their eyes, and pain was not evil. Things just were what they were, could not be changed, and were simply to be acquiesced to. Life was one big exercise in “shut up and eat your cauliflower, it’s good for you.” “Steel your sensibilities, so that life shall hurt you as little as possible” – That IS a quote. And I fear many a Christian lives there too. We can develop such a malformed view of God’s sovereignty, as to begin to imagine God Himself takes a disinterested and dispassionate view of our sufferings. So much so, that we really should just suffer and keep our mouths shut. To even mention that we are in pain, or hurting emotionally, are anxious, fearful, perplexed or confused, is looked upon as self-centered, faithless and sub-Christian.
Somebody should have told David that. Apparently he didn’t get the memo. Here he is in the two Psalms cited above, and a host of others – complaining. I’ll be honest. I don’t like it. I’m uncomfortable with it. Probably because like many, complaining TO God is difficult for me to distinguish from complaining ABOUT God. But in fact, we can even find passages where in great perplexity, some of the saints complained about God as well – before He responded in grace moving them past it. Haggai and Job share a rare and candid boldness which God does not censure them for. In simple honesty, they couldn’t sort out how God could be God, and His promises His promises, and certain events still be taking place. Yet the Father never casts either one off. He leads them to seeing Him better – so that they rest in His goodness and wisdom. But He does not fault their inability to wrestle through it at the moment. And He responds to their need. As He did to David’s many complaints.
We need never fear that our God is too narrow to have us bring everything to Him in the most unvarnished way. He delights in truth. And He also cares deeply about our pain and suffering. He delights to pour out His mercies on us. Sadly, some of us have thought He’s disinterested in us. Dispassionate toward us. Cold in the face of our sorrows. Unmoved by our griefs. Undesirous of hearing our “complaints”. It is not so. He is no Stoic, nor are we to be. He is our Father. Our Maker. The Lover of our souls. He is our Refuge. Our Redeemer. The Friend of sinners. The Lord of Glory. The Lord, “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Ps. 86.15)
It’s alright to tell Him it hurts. He DOES care.