June 23, 2021

From Grumbling to Gratitude

Written by Boyd Bailey

Trials and tests are preparation for the promised land of abundant living and thanksgiving.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 23, 2021

Moses and Aaron told the People of Israel, “This evening you will know that it is God who brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the Glory of God. Yes, he’s listened to your complaints against him. You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God. Exodus 16:6-7, The Message

I remember as a teenager complaining more than I should, though sometimes unspoken, my critical spirit became self-rejection. “Why do I have to be home by midnight, everyone else can stay out later?” A friend used to tell his teenager when he complained about his curfew, “After 10pm, flirting with sin!” Worn down, my single parent mom would sometimes give in to my grumblings. I emotionally exhausted her. But I soon began to learn—no one wanted to be around a complainer. Instead of gaining sympathy, I experienced more alienation. My complaining cost me relational security and disqualified me for intimacy. My complaining needed a conversion. In college I met Jesus. His joy filled my heart with gratitude—His love flushed out my grumblings.

God set free His people from 430 years of slavery, but quickly they stopped being grateful for their epic freedom and complained bitterly. The wilderness is not what they signed up for, instead they expected the promised land—full of milk and honey. But the Lord in His wisdom knew that the wilderness temptations and tests were a needed prerequisite to prune pride and grow humility in His people. Gratitude from being set free from physical and spiritual slavery grows a loving and generous heart to bless others. Complaints to God can be converted into gratitude to God. 

“And these children will honor me by living holy lives. In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacob and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel. Those who got off-track will get back on-track, and complainers and whiners will learn gratitude” (Isaiah 29:24, The Message).

Are you tempted to not trust the Lord because of a trial or test you face? If so, remind yourself of His track record of faithfulness. Once you were blind to the grace and love of Jesus, now you can see how He has led in love to experience total forgiveness and acceptance in your beloved Savior and Lord. When you encountered Christ, you came face to face with the One who has your back, especially during a spiritual dry time. Just like your merciful Father wooed you to Himself before you tasted His satisfying salvation, so He still woos you back to His table of grace. Fear requires you to check boxes of performance, grace reminds you that all boxes were checked on the cross. Rest and be grateful for the rich relationships in your life. Glad gratitude replaces sad grumbling.

Of course, there are times to bring our complaints to God. Jesus even lamented, Why have you forsaken me? But our life in Christ does not consist of chronic complaining, but on occasion we do bring our grumblings to God and He graciously meets us with gentle doses of His love to revive our thankful hearts and remind us of His generous blessings. Trials and tests are preparation for the promised land of abundant living. Convert grumbling into gratitude! 

“Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner” (James 5:9, The Message).


Heavenly Father, replace my grumbling heart with a grateful heart, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


What blessings can I thank the Lord for with grateful praise?

Related Reading

Colossians 2:7, 3:15, 4:2; Ephesians 5:20; Hebrews 12:28

Worship Resource

Maverick City (Steffany Gretzinger/Chandler Moore) – Thank You


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