Asking for a friend, have you ever whined?
I mean I know most of you are stalwart stiff upper lips types, but…
Say you had a knee replacement and you were at Physical Therapy and your leg which is supposed to bend to 140 degrees is only bending on a good day to 110 degrees. And the normally very nice PT is growing devil’s horns and has decided to make that knee go all the way…
Have you ever whined, complained, “bitched”, suggested that somehow life is unfair and that if God loved you, you wouldn’t be crying your eyes out!
All because your knee now feels like it is broken into a million pieces, never to be repaired, and you will never walk again!
Your reason for living has left the room, all you can taste is the bitterness of your lowly condition, and …
You know for certain that God has abandoned you!
Have you ever whined?
Because every time you have whined - every time, even though you don’t imagine that is what you are doing - you are singing tribulation!
And while the whining about PT about a knee replacement may be trivial in comparison to the true singing about tribulation seen in the world, like that in today’s psalm lesson, like that seen in Turkey and Syria and in Ukraine…
Like that seen in communities across the country after gun violence…
Like in places like Kentucky after the tornadoes tore apart their lives…
And like the whining modeled in the psalms and prophets and even in biblical books like Lamentations, it is without a doubt singing tribulation.
You see like most of the singing in scripture, carrying a tune is not essential.
What is essential is that you have decided - by a clear thought process or even just by emotional response - to pour out your heart, your bitterness, your confusion to God about your circumstances – confusion about your status as a child of the King.
For most of us a good bit of our whining has to do with some pretty serious confusion about our relationship with God.
While God may be for his people, God does not work “for” his people. God is not our employee, our servant, our slave.
Quite the opposite, we are children of the king and his most trusted servants. We are commission to go into this world and announce God’s presence. We are the servants, not the other way around.
You understand? Our God is not our front man!
God is not preparing the way for us such that we should never suffer the consequences of living in a broken world with it’s broken people, or subject to this decaying planet, or our own frail human bodies.
We are not at all exempt from the consequences of our own foolish sins and foibles.
We will hurt, we will make mistakes, we will act at times like rebels, we will suffer from our own arrogance, and even from the arrogance and sins of others.
We can whine!
It is very much a scriptural tradition. We can kvetch, we can complain, we can hang our heads and ask God where God is.
Because we have been promised God will answer!
God will display his power!
And God will remind us of who is who!
We belong to God, not the other way around.
Getting it wrong, as we constantly do, is, I think, the ultimate sin.
Not the unforgivable sin, you understand, but the sin that undergirds our failure to see God as who God really is, our maker!
God is the one who has created all that is, and who chose to let all of his amazing glory go in order to come to be among as the humble, loving, all forgiving, yet completely incarnate presence of God in Jesus.
We can, and we should whine!
Because it opens up the possibility that we can finally see who our God really is – not our puppet – but our Lord – the one who calls for us to follow and to reveal to this world the amazing presence of Jesus!
So, read the scriptures! Stock up on some really good whining ideas!
Talk to your Jewish friends, they have century’s more experience whining to God – and look they are still here – and God still loves them…
And even my knees!
For God loves this world, and you and me too.
So whine on, brothers and sisters!