“Excuse me, are you grumbling?”
I watched my 4-year-old granddaughter hang her head. She’d been called out by her mom, who just happened to detest grumbling.
We were at a beautiful, fun theme park that professes to be “the happiest place on earth.” My daughter had arranged the day’s schedule around my grandchildren’s favorite attractions, and we’d staked out a perfect place to wait for an afternoon parade.
Suddenly, my granddaughter decided the parade wasn’t coming soon enough. Besides that, she’d grown thirsty. And furthermore, she’d begun to wonder if the twirling teacups might offer a bigger thrill.
My very patient daughter took her little girl by her hands.“We have planned this day for you to enjoy,” she said as she looked into my granddaughter’s eyes. “I know you’re tired and thirsty, and I have some fresh water for you. But if you choose to be ungrateful, you and I will leave and let everyone else stay and enjoy the parade.”
Grumbling is serious. That’s why the apostle Paul reminds us to “do everything without grumbling and arguing” (Philippians 2:14).
Grumbling has less to do with our circumstances and more to do with our hearts. It colors how we treat others, how we view the world, and how we respond to God. That’s why God dealt gravely with the Israelites’ grumbling during their wilderness journey. Were there plenty of reasons for them to feel unhappy? Sure, there were! But did they have a reason to lose their joy? Absolutely not!
The Israelites zoomed in on their unpleasant circumstances and lost sight of God’s sovereignty. We’re in danger of doing the same thing unless we zoom out and count our blessings.
Like my granddaughter, we can change our attitude by choosing to be grateful.
“Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”
~Jonathan Oatman Jr.