I once had a tiny squared piece of paper posted on our refrigerator entitled “The Complaint Department.” In the middle of this 2″ by 2″ square was a much tinier square ~ about the size of a pencil eraser ~ where one was invited to write their complaint. Point made clear, there wasn’t room to write much of anything. That little squared piece of paper mysteriously got lost over the years.
One day I discovered in Psalm 142 where the ‘complaint department’ was located. David wrote his psalm in a time of trouble, crying aloud with his voice to the Lord. He made supplication to Him and poured out his complaint. He did so “when my spirit was overwhelmed within me.” He realized that God was his refuge, and he asked for God to bring his soul out of prison so that he may give thanks to His name. Oh the joys of a thankful heart!
The last line [verse 7] of that psalm gives us the great clue: “The righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me.” Nothing is more ‘thorny’ than someone who voices dissatisfaction, resentment and fault-finding. So disdainful is this attitude that God even disallowed the grumblers and complainers to reach the Promised Land. At the same time, how sweet it is to fellowship with those who speak words of life!
Equally serious, Johns Hopkins studies show that irritability, griping and anger hasten heart disease. Proverbs 18:20-21 reads: “With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; he will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” ‘Satisfied’ means to be filled with or in abundance. An abundance of ‘death words’ or abundance of ‘life words’ will reproduce the fruit that we will find ourselves eating.
The ‘roses’ of life do have thorns; however, we have the choice to declare that thorny bushes do bear beautiful roses.