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19 January 2009

"I Can't Complain"

How often do you honestly answer the question, "How are you"? Even after thinking about it, 99.9% of the time ... what will you say? "Fine", "well", "good", or some other positive phrase, usually followed closely by the repeat of the question! (written 25 July 07)

Ponder that query for a moment. Why is it that we feel the need to answer that question in the affirmative? Have you ever wanted to answer that question by listing your ailments and irritations? It just dawned on me tonight that I almost always answer the question in a way very similar to the way I remember my granddaddy answering it. As I've said before, granddaddy was one of the most positive people I've ever known. Until the last few months of his life, you could ask him how he was and you'd get "wonderful!" Sometimes he'd say "I can't complain" ... and indeed, he did not.

These days, when I make that comment, I usually get a response along the lines of "yeah, nobody would listen anyway." Sounds sad, but unfortunately for many, it is indeed quite true. Do you want to hear someone complain? Most of us do not, but how often do we express genuine concern to our friends or co-workers? If we knew what was troubling our friends would we be apt to judge less harshly?

God does not shy away from hearing our complaints! He is the friend who never hangs up, who never "beeps over" because He has another call coming in, the friends whose arms are always open. He encourages when we falter, lifts us up when we have fallen, and guides us when we have lost our direction. His messenger is never in "idle" mode, and his "office" never closes. I thank you, God, for hearing my troubles, soothing my fears, and for giving me the strength to realize the truth and to believe myself when I say "I can't complain!"

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." ~Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 NIV

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