By Rev. Ralph T. Newell
Overwhelmed! There are times in life when problems, situations, complexities, etc. crowd in and overwhelm you and you want to cry out, “too much.” I’ve had that happen on occasions and confided in my Pastor Rev. Lorenzo Laws of Greater Allen Chapel AME Church, Melbourne, Florida. I said, “too much sickness, death, pain, bills, stress, other people’s problems, etc.” and he would say, “Reverend you are not complaining, you are just explaining.” I credit Pastor Laws for the insight to write this article “I’m not complaining! I’m Just Explaining!”
Biblically, there are several accounts where it seems that the person was complaining to God or others but when you take careful note it was an explanation. We may consider Job as one who went through more than any person should but his proclamation of faith should encourage us. Job was a rich and righteous man and God permitted Satan to test his faith and commitment to God. Let’s do a brief recount of his tragedies and pinpoint his faith in God and see if Job complained or explained. Job chapter 1:13-19; all his oxen and donkeys were destroyed; then fire burned up his sheep and servants; Chaldeans raided and killed his remaining servants; and a mighty storm killed his seven sons and three daughters. So far Job had remained silent as messengers brought him the devastating news but now in verse 20: “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’.” Could we conclude that his actions were? I’m not complaining! I’m Just Explaining!
God permitted Satan to afflict Job’s body with tremendous sores and his wife told him to curse God and die but Job said in Chapter 2:10b: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Also check Job’s response to life and death in Chapter 14:14 “If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my (until my change) renewal to come” (NIV). This is not the end of Job’s story and life; he has encounters with friends and finally with God. What are the end results? Job keeps his integrity, prays for his friends, and God restores to him far greater blessings than he had in the beginning. Read chapters 38-42 and be encouraged.
Take a look at your life and determine whether you spend more time complaining than explaining. Sometimes it may be a very fine line between the two. Gracie, my wife, tries to keep me grounded with the following words, “remember honey these things you go through are just situations” and this helps me to remain balanced on this physical and spiritual journey. Each of us needs someone to help bring us to a reality check so we do not complain but learn how to explain.
Turn your attention with me to a woman who had a bleeding disorder that the doctors could not heal. She had bled for 12 years and her life was ebbing away, death was pending; Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48: Walk this journey with her, she heard that Jesus was coming and knew that the doctors had not done her any good. “She said if I can just touch the hem of his garment, I believe I will be made whole.” She touched his clothing and was immediately healed and Jesus asked? “Who touched me?” The Disciples said look at all these people. Mark 5:32-34 “But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.” ‘Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her came and fell at his feet trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.’ He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (NIV). I think we can say when she approached Jesus her attitude was, I’m not complaining! I’m Just Explaining!
The Apostle Paul experienced many trials, dilemmas, attacks, persecutions, etc. during his ministry. Permit me to lift words of encouragement from him to help us on our Christian journey so we don’t complain but explain. 2nd Corinthians chapters 8-11 Apostle Paul had to take a stand against false teachers and preachers. It is in chapter 11:23-33 we should take note of what it cost him to proclaim Jesus as Lord! “I’ve been in prison, flogged, exposed to death again and again; five times I received 39 lashes from the Jews; three times I’ve been beaten with rods, stoned one time, shipwrecked three times; I’ve been in danger on the rivers and the sea, hungry, cold and naked; I had to be lowered over a city wall in Damascus to escape, etc. Could this be that he was saying for the sake of the Gospel, I’m not complaining! I’m Just Explaining!
The Apostle Paul left us two powerful statements of personal faith: Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And finally, he speaks to us from 2nd Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which The Lord, The righteous Judge will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (NIV).
Speak positively to yourself these words and be blessed; I’m not complaining! I’m Just Explaining! I Pray that the Power, Presence, Peace, Protection, Provision, Prosperity and Promises of God remain with each of you!