The Complainer's Roller Coaster

Friday, November 4, 2022
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Numbers 21:4b-5a – But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. (NLT)

Riding roller coasters is not my forte.

I recall getting on Thunder Road at Carowinds Theme Park once — and only then to please a girlfriend. I clung to my seat — and my girlfriend — as the row of cars inched its way to the top of the first mountain. I held my breath as my car began its breathtaking descent through the valleys and curves to follow. No loops. No corkscrews. Just up and down and around curves at breakneck speed. I sighed a breath of relief when the string of cars finally stopped.

I've also ridden another type of roller coaster — one the ancient Israelites rode on quite often: the complainer's roller coaster. God had delivered them from four hundred years of slavery, but that wasn't good enough. They quickly disobeyed Him and were sentenced to forty years of wilderness wandering. Even then, He ensured that they had food, water, and shelter. That wasn't good enough, either. They complained about what He gave, as well as the timing of His giving it.

The Israelites didn't complain continuously, nor do I. Like a roller coaster, my complaining is up and down. It's enough, however, I'm sure, to rattle God's nerves. Some maintain that complaining doesn't change a thing. Often it does, but there are healthier ways to effect change than through a griping attitude.

Complaining shows lack of appreciation for how God cares for us. We may think that we know best how God should meet our needs, but only a God Who can peer into the future really does. A faith walk lives not by sight but by trust in a God Who is all-knowing and unconditionally loving.

Our complaints reveal that we doubt God's goodness. God is good all the time. Our definition of good may vary from His, but we must trust that He has our best interests at heart.

When we complain, we question God's methods. His ways are higher than ours and are often beyond our ability to understand. He is God; we are not.

Much better than complaining is our willingness to accept our situations, to be content in them, and to ask God what He is trying to teach us through them. Complete trust takes us off the complainer's roller coaster.

If you're riding the complainer's roller coaster, ask God to get you off.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to ride the roller coaster of thankfulness rather than complaining. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Martin.

    Great analogy!!

    Amen Bro! Blessings.

    Thanks Martin. Blessings.

    Good morning, Martin. Well said. I don’t want to be on the complainer’s roller coaster, either.

    Martin, excellent thoughts so we’ll expressed today. Our motion sickness is often our own fault from the ups and downs of our complaining behavior. Thanks for this reminder.

    Thank you, Martin, for another of your special devotionals. Very good advice and your closing prayer words are “right on” of what we need to do continuously. Blessings for these writings you do.

    On Martin, the only roller coaster for me is to live daily within God’s grace. Amusement park ones are never, ever for me! Life has enough ups and downs to suit me. Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Good morning, Martin, and thank you for sharing these thoughts. What an apt comparison and telling list of how we tend to put our own interpretation of life above God’s omniscience. Here’s to thankfulness, as you suggest: it is a much better place to be.
    (BC, Canada)

    Good morning, Martin,
    A great message. Reminding us to ask God for help when we are stuck and being content with our situations because God is in control. I do like the expression “roller coaster of thankfulness”.
    I do not go on physical roller coasters but have been on many emotional roller coasters over the year and I can agree that it does not change a thing, but God can see the bigger picture and knows my needs and where I need to mature in my faith.
    You are a very devoted devotional writer, and it is much appreciated when you share your experiences. Blessings and joy and enjoy the ride.

    Your writing about complaining is so true. Sometimes I guess we all complain when we just need to be thankful to God and praise Him for all He does for us. Thank you for this eye opener!!

    Thanks, Martin. As the saying goes, “Been there, done that!” I like this:
    We may think that we know best how God should meet our needs, but only a God Who can peer into the future really does. A faith walk lives not by sight but by trust in a God Who is all-knowing and unconditionally loving.

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