Now and then when my mom is away for a short trip or even a long day, my wife and I “sit” her Cockapoo, Molly.
Molly is a sweet, affectionate little dog with loads of personality, and a handful of quirks that are uniquely her such as how she greets people by retrieving a battered stuffed dog called Cliffy. Very red and half the size of her, Molly scoots around with Cliffy in her mouth, tail wagging enthusiastically.
Mom unabashedly spoils Molly with lots of attention, speaking to her with a special “doggy voice,” and giving treats for good behavior or just because. Mom makes clear that we are to also spoil Molly when she is our guest. While we do our best of treat Molly special, we know we don’t hold a candle to mom. In mom’s home and with mom, Molly is truly happy and in her element.
Given how well cared for Molly is, one of her not-so endearing quirks is somewhat surprising – whining. Not a cute little squeak but a guttural, moany-groany “whoa-is-me-sound.” When she really gets going, all within earshot just want her to stop.
Sometimes she is appeasable such as when we refill her food dish, let her out to pee or give her a little attention. Otherwise, we may put her in her kennel to “think about it a while” or try to tolerate listening until she stops.
Her whining notwithstanding, our affection towards Molly far outweighs the negativity of her whining. We are fond of Molly and will always welcome her over when mom has need for us to “Molly-sit.”
Frankly, I only mention Molly’s whining due to a rather embarrassing revelation that occurred to me during a recent week of Molly sitting – How God could certainly view my worry and irritableness when circumstances in life are not going the way I prefer as a form of whining.
When I thought about it some more, I had a creepy sense about how much my whining must get under God’s skin at times, especially considering all he has done for me. At times, I’m sure God considers me a “whine connoisseur.”
No question in the Bible how God feels about whining. During Israel’s desert wandering years, their complaining against God triggered his wrath several times (See Numbers 11:1; 14:27; 21: 4-6)
Paul makes clear believers are not to be anxious about anything. Rather, we are to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and learn to be content in every situation. (Philippians 2:14; 4:6,11b; Ephesians 4: 31-32). Proverbs and James warns that a person’s discontent with God leads to his/her own ruin (Proverbs 17:22; 19:3; James 5:9)
Was Jesus able to maintain his composure because he lacked the sin nature that infects the rest of us?
As prolifically as the Bible warns and comes against whining and grumbling, it also makes clear that those who belong to God are content, grateful, thankful and joyful.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:22)
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. (Psalm 16:9)
I am grateful for how God used little Molly’s whining to teach me a timely lesson. (Help me, dear Lord to never again be seen as a whine connoisseur in your eyes!)