“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Phil 2:14-16, RSV)
When I am suffering, this exhortation never fails to uplift me.
Paul speaks of being in prison so many times that we tend to become desensitized to just how difficult it must have been for him to preach the Gospel in his day. Yet, he did so, unfailingly, consistently and proudly.
Many times, I grumble and question—okay, almost every time—especially when things are not to my liking even if I know it is part of what God has in store for me. Loss of control is never easy and this has always been my cross.
I am, by nature, a control freak and loss of control—the uncertainty, the “not knowing” and the inability to shape what comes next—has always been cause for me to grumble and question and, often, protest. Many times, it has involved only me and God but there have been times as well when my being a control freak has affected—and hurt—others.
Recently, I was given a wake-up call to this. It was not a subtle hint nor a gentle nudge, it was practically a bludgeon—I was confronted with the many times my insistence on control affected and hurt others I love. And I was, literally, brought to my knees—not knowing what to do, what to say—and not in control. But, ironically, that was when I felt the most free.
So though I suffer many times, I try now not to grumble or question—too much. Try is the most important word in that sentence. Often though, the words of complaint and protest slip through my lips but I am quick to repent and to pray that God be in control once again.
Lord, I pray for the grace to shine as a light in the world that is in darkness; to be a voice that speaks Your truth in a world that is filled with noise and confusion; to be your face in a world that knows You not or no longer. Grant me additionally the grace to be all these without grumbling or questioning but to be simply filled with the hope that I labor not in vain but in the victory that you have already won. Amen.