It is commonly believed that it is okay to complain as long as the complaint is legitimate. We feel that this is one of our innate rights. If we didn’t know better from God’s Word, the tongue-in-cheek theory that we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain would seem plausible. We do it more frequently than we realize. As someone once observed, “Untold suffering seldom is.”
Yet we are strictly warned about complaining: “…nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:10-11). And the first thing that we notice when we look at those things that happened is that all the complaints are what would usually be considered “legitimate.” Food, water and life itself were on the line.
Well, if we can’t complain, then what? “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:18). Every situation in our life – every last situation – is from the hand of a sovereign God, and he brings it into his people’s lives for his people’s ultimate benefit and His own glory. Each situation is given as an opportunity to exercise faith, obedience, prayer, and perseverance. Complaining was not one of the tools given us to effect change. There exists no “right to complain.”