You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139:3-4)
My first reaction to this passage is to say uh-oh, you know all my ways? (Sometimes I am not too proud of them!)
But on closer thought I’m glad God has this knowledge. Because God is a loving Father who wants to use that knowledge for my own good. If God were not driven by love, then I would be fearful of being smitten because I have had (and still have) some ways that are not admirable.
But the Lord who drew me to Christ is a loving Lord who wants to forgive me when I screw up and to change me. It’s this Lord who knows everything about me throughout the day. And that’s something for me to welcome instead of dreading.
This friendly familiarity that God has with me helps me be honest with him. Since there are no secrets between me and the Lord, when I am groaning, I can express that to him. So, rather than stewing inside and letting my dissatisfaction slowly eat away at me, I can bring my discontent out into the open. Look at what it says in Psalm 142:2.
I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble
This is something great about the Psalms: How often the Psalmist pours out heart and soul —sometimes in praise and sometimes in complaint. We love to express joy but what about a day where we lack joy? We can be brutally honest when something has us annoyed or even boiling with anger. We do this not to justify ourselves but rather as part of a plea for God to act.
We can look at how the Psalmist’s complaint gets handled:
I cry to you, Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:5)
And rather than dwelling in the bondage of complaint the Psalmist asks with confidence:
Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name. (Psalm 142:7)
Now, God may or may not fix the situation we are complaining about. I love it when he does set it right! But, at the very least God gives us a positive attitude adjustment in the middle of whatever we were whining about.