Psalm 142 talks about voicing complaint to The Lord. I have a few of my own right now. Mainly these revolve around a boy who still wakes up 3 times a night or more, a hatred of sleep depravation and the haze it places over things, the lack of cinema visits in the last year, the sadness of not having the time or energy for new people as we would like, the sadness over not being able to hang out with old friends as much as we would like, the frustration I feel when I hear the cries for the 4th time in the night and wish I could just blot out all sound, the sadness I feel with myself when the patience runs out and anger takes over.
Oh yes Mr Psalmist I too have a lot of complaints. These are the realities of life right now. I think somewhere in my subconscious I’ve assumed that voicing complaints means I am self pitying and unable to put on my stoical socks, pull them up and just get on with it. But if voicing complaints was the same as wallowing in self pity I doubt we’d have so many Psalms full of complaining voices, voices pouring out their hurt and pain. I am feeling pain right now. I cannot deny it or squash it down.
Some say, well look around, you’ve got it better than most, your situation is actually pretty good, you have a child for a start, you have a loving husband who you play tag throughout the night with. Come on, buck up and pull up those stoical socks. The trouble is, those voices only have the power to send me into self pity rather than away. The answer to my troubles is not to ignore them, to compare with others and try to feel better about my situation.
The answer is to honestly bring them to The Lord. I voice my complaint.
The Psalmist comes to the conclusion that he has no refuge and no one cares. But then he says, The Lord is my refuge, he is my portion in the land of the living. I think that kind of jump is what is meant to happen to us as we voice our complaints. That’s why first we voice them to The Lord. He will not tell us to pull our socks up or that there are people worse off than us so get on with it.
He listens to our complaints. He sees us come to the end of our hope in this world and he then steps in and gives us him. Whatever my nights have been like, however much time off I would like, however frustrating it is not being able to be more hospitable, however sad it is when I feel and act like a rubbish friend to people The Lord comes and gives me himself. He is my portion, not all these other things I look to for hope and meaning in this world.
On a morning after a night when I reached the end of all patience and felt anger towards my little cute son, when I despaired of this season ever ending, when I wished just to be able to have a night off, time with old friends, time for making new friends these were good words to read this morning, I can voice my complaint to The Lord. He listens. He is my portion. He is my enough. I can face today not because I am great but because he is. He is my refuge in a hard hard world