by Dave Hintz
In the 27 years I have spent on earth, I have learned several key and crucial lessons. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, never pet a burning dog, and nobody likes a whiner. Of these three tent pole axioms of my life, I would like to focus on the last one, “nobody likes a whiner” especially God. Whining is one of the many words in the English language that sounds like what it is (other examples include crush, hush, murmur, etc.). The word refers to the nasally and irritating sound of a complaint uttered from our lips. Crafty children often learn the secret of using this annoying tone of voice as a means of negative reinforcement, driving the parents to say things like, “Alright, already, I’ll give you your blanky if you will just be quiet!” What then develops is a lifestyle of manipulation where the growing adult complains and moans over every perceived injustice imaginable until somebody or something pacifies their perceived need.
There exists no greater example of whining than the wandering Israelites in the wilderness. In Numbers 11:4-5 we read “And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us meat to eat? "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,” Even though the Lord God rescued them from bondage in Egypt, gifted them with precious metals on the way out, destroyed the oncoming Egyptian Army, gave them water to drink in the wilderness, preserved their clothes, and fed the faithfully every day with Manna from heaven, they complained. Talk about ungrateful! That’s like the kid who gets a pony, a saddle, a fully built stable, and riding lessons, and still complains because “I wanted a black saddle and not a brown one!” Needless to say, these actions displeased God as we read in Numbers 11:10 in the ESV “The anger of the LORD blazed hotly.” There unmet, selfish, and idolatrous desires caused them to question the goodness of God. And with a foul chorus they shook their fists at God exclaiming, “If you loved us you would modify our menu!” Sounds silly doesn’t it? But obviously, it was the most important issue in their life. They focused so much on their own self centered needs that they went to God in a demanding fashion insisting on God’s compliance to their terms. Never did it cross their mind to ask God in prayer or approach Moses with humility. Similarly, when we whine and complain about our marriage, job, health, financial situation, and the like, we replicate the Israelites in the wilderness. We question God’s power to change circumstances as well as His genuine love for us. Next time you are tempted to whine, take a time-out and reflect on all of the blessing which God has endowed us with. And realize the promise of Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.