How has the whining gone this past week?
Last week I noted that whining is a great biblical tradition. And while that be a bit more than what is true, what is true is that pouring out your grief and sorrow to the Lord is part of a normal faithful life.
Not everything goes like the way we think it should!
Like, did you know one of our folks here had a car accident this week? And another ended up in the ER for IV antibiotics? One has had important surgery scheduled way to far down the calendar. Another lost a beloved pet, another a job, and another a promotion!
Sometimes life stinks and as faithful people we sometimes think we should grin and bear it. Or we think that since God has something else for us that we should express our disappointment, our frustration, our disappointment.
But honestly, what kind of intimate relationship would that be?
Imagine your child not coming and telling you about their sadness, their feelings of disappointment. We want them to come to us and tell us so we can comfort them, or teach them, or challenge them, or help them navigate their emotions.
“If you are scared or confused or hurt or sad come and tell me”, you say to your child, because that is part of parent/child relationship, helping them become mature and wise, and compassionate.
And God is our heavenly parent. God wants a relationship with us that is honest and open.
So, Singing Tribulation, or whining as I called it, is really part of a health relationship.
Just look at Hannah.
In chapter two of 1st Samuel we hear her words of celebration at the birth of her son Samuel!
She is so excited and pleased! She is even ready to challenged to others to praise the Lord, and to see all that the Lord can do.
But this is a story with a history, because this is the very same Hannah from whom we hear in chapter one of Samuel all about her grief and misery.
This is the same Hannah who went to the Tabernacle, the precursor to the Temple, in an absolute tizzy because she was barren, had had no child, while her husband’s other wife (a conversation for another day) had had several, and her barren condition was now a point of mockery, even though her husband seemed content with Hannah as she was.
But Hannah was miserable and so went, and
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. 11 And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
This is such a perfect example of singing tribulation, telling the story as you see it, going to mom or dad in tears and pouring out your heart!
You know as well as I do that when I child comes to you and tells you their tale of woe, it may not be an accurate understanding of what is happening.
It may be fairly greatly embellished. It may have elements that are simple not true, a poor reading of the situation, or it may be spot on. Just because you love somebody or something doesn’t mean they are going to, or have to love you back. But no, we are not chasing all the squirrels out of the yard.
Yes, you fell a long way and hit the ground hard, and your head hurts, but no, it was not the tree’s fault!
But as parents we still listen, we still give hugs, we still delight in the child coming to us, and we kiss the booboos and give out bandages. We respond out of love.
As did God in Hannah’s story. She had a child! Her dignity was restored. And her song of tribulation, became one of transformation and triumph.
Which is why we are reminded to keep coming, with words of praise and thankfulness for sure, but also with words of petition and intercession, and even a bit of whining. Why? Because God loves.