God-Honoring “Complaining”?

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It’s not often you come across an article titled,
“Teaching Our Children to Lament
.” But that’s the title of a very intriguing article by Megan Hill (posted at The Gospel Coalition). Here is an excerpt that will hopefully encourage you to read the whole article:

We parents rightly want our children to depend on God’s sovereign care, and we want them to avoid the sin of wilderness murmuring. But, too often, by reason of our own human frailty and indwelling sin, we fall into the pattern of Job’s counselors and reduce our response to our children’s sorrow to “God made that bed, now lie in it.”

What if we came alongside our children, no longer as military drill sergeants with a program of enforced stoicism, but as fellow sufferers under the curse? What if we accepted that life in a fallen world is hard—for adults and toddlers and teens—and gave our children holy tools to express their grief? What if we taught our children to lament?

I also found these thoughts by Jon Bloom to be a perfect follow-up to the above article:

The psalms of lament are treasures for the saints. They give inspired voice to our troubled souls. They model for us how to complain to God in a way that honors him. And they are themselves expressions of God’s care and compassion for us because in them we see that we are not as alone as we feel and that God indeed does understand.

And if we have ears to hear, the psalms of lament also guard us from an over-realized eschatology in this age. God does not always intend his saints to experience prosperity. As these psalms remind us, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” So we can complain to him.

But learn from the psalmists how to be a faith-full complainer. Remember our great hope, as Jesus also said, “take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

(“God Wants You to Complain,” at desiringgod.org.)

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

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