Worse Than Any Affliction: Why I Refuse to Grumble

“My flesh is wasting away, and who would blame me if I complained? Certainly not the world — it’s natural for them to expect an old lady in a wheelchair to grumble over her losses. But followers of Jesus Christ should expect more from me. Much more.” - Joni Eareckson Tada


This article is well written. But we must not extend the article accidentally and assume that suffering does not bring a great burden. I don't feel the author does this in this article, but I have seen individuals provide the advice that we must smile through our afflictions, and that is not at all Scriptural. I have seen many Christians loose their faith, loose their spouse, destroy a family all while trying so hard to smile and have a good spirit through suffering. We should not grumble, we should not complain, and our suffering needs to point us to Christ at all times. But we also need to understand that it is okay to grieve. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. It is okay to collapse physically and sometimes mentally under the strain of it. We need to realize that Christ had an anxiety attack, He wept over the death of others and He felt forsaken by God. Elijah came to such a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness that he faced the thoughts of suicide and yet he was never scolded. The psalmist cried out in utter despair. In order for our suffering to refine and test our faith, it must break us. Feel the pain, cry, take a break, grieve, these are natural reactions to these situations. Don't wallow in it. Don't ask God, "Why?". Don't complain about the situation. Seek God. Christ should be the resolution. And when you have taken the time, refocus and get back to work.

Good point, David.

We need to realize that Christ had an anxiety attack, He wept over the death of others and He felt forsaken by God.

Jesus was sad, joyful, angry, frustrated, etc.

Coincidentally, I just re-read CS Lewis’s The Great Divorce last week. He depicts souls who are in the clutches of their sins and won’t repent even at being given an opportunity to go from hell to heaven. One of the sins depicted is grumbling. That caught me off guard because I don’t think of it as a serious sin.

This article was helpful.

I don’t think that we’re called to smile when we are sad.

Perhaps the distinction is that grumbling includes voicing blame on God and others for our circumstances.

Yeah, I would have liked to have seen complaining and grumbling more fleshed out in the article. I view grumbling as either 1) angry at your circumstance, or 2) complaining about the circumstance and not recognizing the sovereignty of God.

You can find solace in being just utterly crushed under the weight of your circumstance. The flesh is weak, and affliction should create pain and evoke a terrible response from us. But we should not loose site in the fact that while we can't see it in the moment, we can have Hope that God is good, and that He is in control.

The Psalmist often poured out his heart to God with his complaints about life, but was also showing trust in God as he poured out his complaints. We can do this without accusing God of injustice. In contrast the children of Israel grumbled in the wilderness and accused God of injustice for their discomfort. This grumbling was clearly rebuked. On the cross Jesus cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." This was a quote from Psalm 22 where David had said the same thing, yet went on to express his trust in God. We can complain about our condition and feel discouragement without sinning. At such time where better to go with our frustrations than to pray and commune with God as we express our trust in him.