Matthew 13:13, “…Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understanding.”
I’ll be minding my own business at college, doing my homework or reading a book, and suddenly a friend will come up to me and say, “Ricky, my life sucks!” as they proceed to tell me about the problems of their life. Does it really, though? Does your life really suck? Even if they don’t explicitly say their life sucks, their number of complaints implies they’re currently unhappy with their life. But my sympathy meter doesn’t move. A U.S. Army veteran is not a person you want to complain to about how much your life supposedly “sucks.” This might be my military mindset of not putting up with other people’s rubbish, but I don’t give any sympathy because these things we often complain about are meagre issues that are actually blessings in disguise. “My car won’t start. My life sucks.” Oh, so you have a car? Plenty of people don’t. At least you have a car to complain about. “I hate my professor. My life sucks.” Oh, so you’re in college and are getting an education, and your parents love you enough to pay for it? Please tell me more about how crappy your life supposedly is. “I have so much homework to do. My life sucks.” Again, you’re getting an education, which your parents are paying for. Welcome to the real world where you need to actually have a work ethic to live. “I hate my job. My life sucks.” Oh, so you have a job? A lot of people would love to have the job you hate. If you hate it so much, get another job. Don’t say there aren’t any other jobs out there, because there are; it’s just an excuse not to work harder. “My furnace is broken. My life sucks.” Oh, so you have a place to live? How terrible. The complaints go on and on. All of these things and more don’t warrant you to say your life “sucks.”
Thousands of years ago, an innocent man died. No guile was found on His lips and He did nothing wrong. This man, Jesus, died in place for our sins. You could say His life sucked that day, but He willingly did it anyway. And there are still plenty of people who don’t see this blessing in disguise. There are people who are living in situations way worse than we are. We’re rich compared to them. If something’s not going your way, that doesn’t mean your life “sucks.” It just means you simply didn’t get what you want and now you’re throwing a temper tantrum about it. I don’t wanna hear it.
These people who complain to me about their meagre problems are no different than the child who’s pouting because they didn’t get their way or experience an expected outcome. Before you start to complain about something, try to think about it objectively. Try looking at the situation from the outside instead of subjectively inward. How would this situation seem to the outsider? If you’re complaining about your car, someone on the outside may say, “Well at least you have a car.” Those of us who have been born in America are blessed to have been born here. Most of you reading this probably lead relatively stable lives. (I assume that because internet isn’t exactly inexpensive.) If you’re comfortable with your current living condition, what do you really have to complain about? In the midst of our complaints, if we’re healthy, have a roof over our heads, have a job, and/or seeking an education, we ought to thank God for those things. Even if it’s not going the way we want it to go or something really does go wrong, we should still be thankful and not make false proclamations such as, “My life sucks.”
America is a blessed nation, even though we are in political turmoil at the moment. It may not be a Christian nation, but God certainly blesses it. “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). God’s mercy shines on the righteous and the wicked because He desires to draw all people to Him. America is a land of milk and honey—it is full of riches. Even those with minimum wage jobs are considered rich in comparison to countries in poverty. If you have a minimum wage job and have a smartphone and/or internet, or a gaming console, or a television, you are not poor and your life does not suck. Because we live in such a rich nation, it is easy to forget all the things we have come from the Lord, even if we perceive to be lacking in certain riches:
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws, and His decrees… Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God… You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant…” (Deuteronomy 8:10-14, 17-18)
These words may have been spoken to the Israelites, but they still apply to us today, for the wisdom and commands of God are timeless. Everything we have comes from God—it is all given at His mercy. We tend to think we are the ones who earned all the things we have by our work. In a way, this is true, for we earn our wages by our hard work, but none of this would be possible without the mercy of God—without God allowing it. You can earn those wages precisely because God has allowed the opportunity to do so. So we ought to thank God for all the things we have, lest we forget He is our Sustenance and our Provider. (This does not mean poverty is good since God allows it to exist. God’s allowing poverty does not mean He causes it nor does it mean it is good and we should be indifferent towards it. Poverty is an aberration of God’s originally intended condition for His human creatures. Therefore, He has spoken through Jesus and the apostles on how to address poverty: by giving generously to others and taking care of the poor.)
Your life does not suck. Even if your car isn’t running properly, or you don’t like one of your professors or your boss, or you have “too much” work or homework to do, or you hate your job, or something in your home is malfunctioning, your life does not suck. Your life would suck if you had none of those things to complain about. The cliché is true, “Count your blessings.” It may be a silly cliché, but it has a lot of truth to it. Count your blessings before you complain and you’ll start to find you really have nothing to complain about. If your car is malfunctioning, thank the Lord you have a car and pray you find a way to fix it. If you don’t like your professor or your boss or even your job, thank the Lord you have a job and/or education and pray He gives you the ability to strengthen the relationship and give you the positive enthusiasm to continue the work. If you don’t like that you have a lot of work or homework to do, thank God again for the education and/or job and pray He gives you the strength and peace of mind to complete the work. If something in your home isn’t working properly, thank God you have a home to live in and pray you find a way to fix it and have the funds to do so. If you do have the funds, thank God that you have the funds. Even when things aren’t going exactly our way, we can still be thankful. Thank the Lord for what you have, for it is better to have it even though it is not perfect than to need it and not have it.