"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT).
After spending three weeks in the beautiful
island of Grenada, my body still hadn't completely adjusted to the heat.
It doesn't matter what island paradise you find yourself in, 30 C (86 F)
plus humidity is just plain...hot!
And so I complained...
My body had adjusted somewhat to the climate however, as I would
discover that morning, after a rainstorm, when the temperature dipped
all the way down to 23 C (73 F). When I went out for a little walk, I
Because I had been "complaining" about the
heat to everyone back home, I quickly composed a text for all of my
family back home: "23 degrees C. this morning! I'm cold!"
Meanwhile, while I was fussing that I was "cold" at 23 C., the family
back home were suffering under deep-freeze conditions. With the
wind-chill factor, temps were dipping down to -30 C., and there was up
to 30 cm of fresh snow in parts of the country where my family live. I
guess my "problem" got classified as "A Caribbean" problem, unworthy of
sympathy; for needless to say, I didn't get any...
matter where we find ourselves in life, problems always seem to abound.
We complain about being too busy at work, about having to clean the
bathroom, that we haven't gotten away in months, that our car is too
old, that we don't have the latest computer or cell phone, that our
church is too big/unfriendly/loud/boring, that we don't have the latest
parallel Bible. Meanwhile, others don't even have a job, some have
never, ever left their home villages, many in this world don't have
indoor plumbing, thousands have only their feet for transportation,
there are those who don't have access to education, and an accelerating
number of Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith,
many can't attend church, and it is illegal to own a Bible...
point is, whatever it is we complain about, there are those who have it
far worse than we do. I once read an allegory about a man who was
complaining about the "cross" he had to bear. An angel took him to a
warehouse full of "crosses" and invited him to exchange his "cross" for
any of the ones in the storehouse. The man went in, looked around, found
the absolute smallest "cross", and came outside bearing it. He would
then learn that it was the exact same "cross" he had been carrying all
It's so true! If we could see the full picture, then
when asked if we wish to "exchange" our problems for those that others
have, we would more than likely pick our own!
When faced with
adversity, no matter how big or small, we always have two options: We
grumble and complain about what we don't have, or we rejoice in what we
After contemplating this truth, I repented of my complaint
that the temperatures dipped down to 23 C. Instead, I rejoiced that I
was blessed enough to be in the Caribbean and to be avoiding the
deep-freeze back home.
It's amazing how I began to truly enjoy
what I had after that...
Something else happened as well. When I wasn't
so focussed on my own comfort--or lack thereof--I began to empathize
with those who truly did have it worse off than I did. Instead of
complaining to them for a "problem" that was far smaller than theirs, I
began to be supportive and encouraging. It's amazing how a tiny bit of
empathy goes such a long ways towards helping someone! And that, in and
of itself, is so much more rewarding to us, ourselves, then constantly
trying to one-up them.
The Bible tells us, "Always be full of
joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4 NLT). It also
teaches that, "This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be
glad in it." (Psalm 118:24 NLT). We would do well to remember that,
"This is the day" refers to...everyday! And the more we
be glad in it", the happier we will feel, and the more we can be a
blessing to those who are hurting around us.
Too ______ (you
fill in the blank) where you are? Remember: That's a "Caribbean
problem"! There are others who have it far worse. Why not choose to
rejoice in what we [do] have instead of complaining about what we
don't? When we do, we will begin to lift others up instead of bringing
them down with our own troubles!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.