I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints. (Psalm 77:1-3, KJV)
Complaining can be an exercise in futility, or it can be a pathway to spiritual growth. Prayers of complaint are more a rule than an exception in Scripture. David and other Psalmists (as well as the prophets) complained to God about life in the world and their place in it. Moses complained about the ingratitude of the Israelites. Elijah felt so alone as the only true prophet of the LORD, he prayed to God to die. Jeremiah complained that he was unsuited for his calling. Even Jesus complained to God, crying out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Complaints can be therapeutic if we use them in a cathartic way, to let loose our troubles.
Otherwise, complaints can be corrosive, eating away at our spirit when we can least afford it. Complaints left to linger within us not transformed into prayer leave us more beaten down than when we first started experiencing the problem.
As persons with bipolar, we can certainly find much about which to complain. I complain about things I can’t do that others can do and readily stay balanced. Drink as much coffee as they want. Travel internationally. Stay up late and wake up early.
Without prayer, these complaints simply swirl around and create a spiraling mess into which I sink and become trapped. With prayer, complaints are transformed into creative action that brings relief and gives glory to God. Complaints for what is lacking are transformed into praise for what God is doing, has done, and will keep on doing for those who love the LORD.