The past few weeks have been a bit challenging for my family. After two years of successful avoidance, Covid finally hit our family. Eric’s Mom acquired it on a trip while Eric and I were infected from another unknown source. Thankfully, we have all recovered without significant issues. To God be the praise!
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Psalm 13:1-2 – NLT
I bet you never complain. I am certain you never whine.
Friends, I have a confession. I have been known to do both. Yes, I have definitely complained, especially when Covid came to visit my house. Worse still, I even caught myself whining. I’m not proud of it, but alas, it’s true.
Initially, I handled it all well. When my mother-in-law presented with a head cold and subsequently tested positive for Covid, I stepped up my prayers and went into nurse mode, immediately Advocating for her to receive anti-viral therapy. I even adopted my best bulldog persona to ensure she received a virtual medical visit within hours of her positive test. Although I was quite concerned about her, I prayed and trusted God to heal her. Thankfully, He did.
I held up well when my husband started with sinus congestion. I became suspicious when the usual lawn-cutting allergy symptoms didn’t clear up after 24 hours. I was calm when the test came back positive. Of course, I ramped up my prayer efforts and was pleased when he also received anti-viral therapy. I was thrilled to see how quickly his symptoms improved. He was even ready to keep our camping reservations at the end of his isolation period.
I wasn’t surprised when the body aches started. The ensuing sinus congestion elicited no alarm. I knew I had Covid before I even opened the test kit. I didn’t feel good, but it wasn’t awful. For the first 48 hours, I handled it all pretty well. That was before the coughing intensified. In the middle of the night, the coughing became so severe that my back muscles spasmed and threw my back out of alignment. The back pain started, and yep, you guessed it. That’s when the complaining began. With every coughing fit, the moaning and groaning grew louder. Soon, I added whining into the mix to further express my misery and frustration.
I think you have the picture of the situation by now. I handled it all reasonably well until the back pain started, and then, I wimped out. I progressed to self-pity. My prayers that had previously been filled with thanksgiving for the quick recovery of my loved ones now turned into pleading, and yes, even whining.
so am I the only soul who acts like this? I can be quite a prayer warrior. I can be an optimistic encourager. The glass is always half full in my eyes. Well, until it’s not.
When the pain starts, when the heartache hits, it’s amazing how quickly we fall apart. Our prayers turn from faithful praise to lingering lament, and even include that age-old refrain, “Why, Lord, why?”
Have you ever been there? If so, then you know how hard it is to drag yourself out of that downward spiral. It may be hard, but it’s necessary. We need to find a way to flip our focus. Flip the coin. Get a grip. Let go of the whining and complaining. Flip our focus to thanksgiving and praise.
King David demonstrates this “Flip it!” philosophy over and over again in the Psalms. Take Psalm 13 for example. David begins with a lament, questioning God about the challenging circumstances he finds himself in. He is frustrated, Miserable, and perhaps, even afraid. He is honest with God. He doesn’t sugar-coat it. He tells it like it is. He gets it all out, and then he stops. He shifts his focus from complaining to re-affirming God’s past faithfulness. He recalls how The Lord has delivered him in other trying circumstances. These recollections embolden his faith and strengthen his hope. Then David makes an important choice. He chooses to praise. Praise is what David does best.
When I read the Psalms of David, what I see most clearly is his honesty. He is transparent with God, telling it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But notice that David doesn’t wallow in lament for long. He flips his focus to God’s faithfulness, and that flip saves him. It makes all the difference. He makes the choice to trust. He refuses to let fear win. He purposefully chooses to shake off his misery and seek The Lord. There is a reason he is called ”a man after God’s own heart.”
Last week, I had to challenge myself to ”Flip it!” I had to adjust my attitude. It was time to follow David’s excellent example and turn my woes into wonder at God’s great faithfulness. It was time to quit complaining and start praising. And you know what? It made all the difference.
My Covid symptoms are gone. My back is getting better each day. Better still, my attitude has improved. The glass is half full once more.
I Know you never fall into that deep, dark pit of woe and misery. I know you never stoop to whining and complaining. But just in case you find yourself starting to stumble, take a note from one of King David’s beautiful songs. Lift it up, let it out, and let it go. Like David, make the choice to ”Flip it!”
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.
Psalm 13:5-6 – NLT
O Lord God, forgive us when we stumble. Forgive our whining and complaining. This life is hard, and we grow weary. We are weak, but You are strong. We are fussy, and still, You are faithful. You love us with an unfailing love. Nothing can separate us from that love. You hold us by Your righteous right hand. Oh, how we praise You for all Your loving care. Oh, how we love You, Lord! All praise to You!
In the Loving Name of Jesus, we lift up thanks and praise,