Complaining or Being Joyful. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (9:20-21)

Complaining or Being Joyful. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (9:20-21)


Louisa Gould

"Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?" Romans 9:20-21 (MSG)

There are many who like to complain. We saw that plainly when the Israelites were rescued from Egypt and were heading for the Promised Land. Our Heavenly Father saved them from the Egyptians, and immediately they began their non-stop complaining. They were living on miracles and they didn't even realize it! There were no sicknesses. God miraculously fed them and provided them with water (See Exodus 17:6). Their clothes didn't even wear out: "Your clothes didn't wear out and your feet didn't blister those forty years." Deuteronomy 8:4 (MSG). Where were their thank you notes to God?

The Israelites missed the opportunity to experience our Heavenly Father fully: "We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn't do them a bit of good because they didn't receive the promises with faith." Hebrews 4:2 (MSG). How sad!

Complaining leads only to dissatisfaction. And for what? To make ourselves, and others, miserable?

There are some who are continually thankful to our Heavenly Father. They are the ones who are joyful. They are the ones who have no worries. They leave everything in the hands of our Father. After all, we are encouraged to "Let the Word of Christ-the Message-have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:16-17 (MSG). The more joyful we are, the more we are in sync with our Heavenly Father.

The Russian prisoners-of-war on the island of Jersey during WWII were destined to be slave workers. None of them were called by their names. Instead, they were each given a number that they were called by, and they were given almost nothing to eat. After 9 months, most of these soldiers were no longer fit for labor. This meant they were no longer useful, and anyone no longer useful to the Nazis were sent to the gas chambers. Not all the prisoners were Russian, either. One, merely a boy from France, kept crying: "Maman! Maman!" Why was he even there with the Russians?

These prisoners-of-war did anything they could to find food. In fact, their desire for food was much stronger than their fear of death, and this pushed them to do things, such as steal potatoes out of the fields, that would result in them being shot on the spot if ever they were caught.

People will complain about anything, and most of the Jersey locals ignored what was happening in the concentration camps. They preferred instead to complain about the poor food rations or occupations left for them. They even complained that the Allies were doing nothing to liberate them.

Mrs. Louisa Gould was different. She could not stand how these slave workers were being treated. In 1943, she hid one of these Russians in her home, and this act brought her abundant joy. Because she was not one to complain, she made a deep impression to that soldier. Unfortunately for her, she was betrayed by a neighbor and was arrested. She was eventually transported to Ravensbruck and on February 13, 1945, she was killed in a gas chamber. Nevertheless, she never regretted doing this act of mercy.

Isn't being joyful way more attractive than complaining? What do you think?

Rob Chaffart

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