Year by year, aging increasingly takes its toll. Day by day, the process strips away our affection for life in this body and prepares us for heaven. Isn’t this a cheerful beginning? Stick with me, dear reader.

When I signed my contract for Refuge a year and a half ago, I was a workaholic with multiple commitments and ministries, the go-to girl. Then I got mono, and I’ve never recovered. Now each day must be scheduled to provide a nap and management of my energy. If not, bad things happen.

However, I’ve begun to realize that my days and my energy levels are not much different than my mother’s. She is in her seventies. In other words, eventually this type of fatigue or wear-and-tear will come to us all.

So how can I, we, all of us, avoid being the continual health complainer? Unless we die young, aging and its accompanying deterioration is universal. Eventually something gets us, sometimes sooner rather than later. Is there a strategy? Yes!

Will You Still Love Me..... Sasvata (Shash) Chatterjee via Compfight

In these passages, see how God helps us to avoid the sin of grumbling.

“Therefore, let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 ESV).

The Philippians were to show their imitation of Christ in this way, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation…” (Philippians 2:12b-15a ESV).

Grumbling is a litmus test. When we are imitating Christ, we will not grumble or complain. Rather, we will trust God, knowing that he does all things well, even aging and illness—in whatever order—for our good. He empowers us, like he did Jesus, to escape the temptation to complain.

But what if the test shows we cannot imitate Christ perfectly (and it will show this)? Then God’s grace is made evident in our weakness. When we are weak, he shows himself strong by transforming us. Day by day, he works in our lives, providing ways of escape, and helping us to take them.

An autoimmune disorder was not on my agenda. But God always has what’s best for me in mind. He is using this daily testing to cause me to grow. There’s a larger world outside the sphere of healthy and active. It is peopled with more human beings than the other sphere. I hadn’t realized this until now.
Sydney Ken Wilber Reading GroupCreative Commons License Tim Mansfield via Compfight

So we, the stricken, discuss strategies. We pray, and we study the Scriptures. How can the health issues that impact our every waking moment not be the main thing on our minds and coming out our mouths? How?

God instructs us to fix our minds on Jesus and on things above, and he holds up Jesus for us to imitate. Jesus lived life under pressure perfectly. He yielded. He placed himself into God’s hands. He came to his Father with frankness. He never complained.

There’s a powerful human psychological need to focus on what is true, good, lovely, and praiseworthy. There’s a spiritual strategy for eucharisteo, the Greek work for thankfulness.

If we don’t apply these simple, yet difficult and entirely against our flesh, strategies, we will complain, because we are human. Our crankiness shows us the true condition of our hearts.

Graceful MorningCreative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

Applying God’s prescription of trust and fixing our minds on Jesus and the eternal not only draw us closer to him, but refresh our spirits, shoving the aches and pains to the back of our minds and moving concern for others to the forefront.

We focus on grace and comfort from the Lord. We are mindful of his presence with us in trial. His promises are the medicine that keep our complaints in check.

When we focus on Christ and give him thanks for the struggle and the increased intimacy we have with him in it, we feel better than when we’re focused on the pain. We can see the rest of life around us. We can discern the needs of others. We lose our tunnel vision.

Join the conversation: Have you found this to be true?