Sometimes bad things happen to us. That's usually when we ask, "Why, Lord?" But I wonder, do we have the right to ask that in the bad times if we've never asked it during the good times?
Let me explain. I just found out I have arthritis. This should not be surprising news at my age, but it's in my hand. So, it hurts to cook, to sew, to make jewelry, to hold a book while I'm reading, the things I love to do. So, I complain about it to God. "Why do I have arthritis in my hand?" On the flip side, I hardly ever asked, "Why, Lord? Why did you put my hand together so fearfully and wonderfully? Why did you make it work the way it does with all those bones and joints and tendons and nerve endings?"
Did I ever think about my hand and thank God for the way it worked? Was I ever grateful for my hand when I picked up my grandchildren? Chopped vegetables for soup? Made a necklace for a friend? No, indeed, I did not. But I sure have talked to God a lot about my hand since arthritis has made its ugly home in my hand.
So, do we have the right to complain about something going wrong when we were never grateful for it when things were going right? Could it be that complaining comes from the state of our hearts more than from the state of our circumstances? Painful question, isn't it?
In 1909, in Harrodsburg, Ky., the wife and three sons of popular Methodist Episcopal preacher, Luther B. Bridgers, were killed in a fire. In the midst of his grief, Mr. Bridgers wrote the words to one of our favorite hymns, "He Keeps Me Singing."