Esther Asks

What does the Bible say about complaining?

Philippians 2:14 encourages believers to “do all things without grumbling or disputing.” James 5:9 warns Christians not to “grumble against one another, brothers, so that [they] may not be judged,” and 1 Peter 4:9 similarly instructs us to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

God is often displeased with the Israelites for grumbling and complaining against Him while wandering in the desert in passages like Numbers 11 and Numbers 14. Instead, the Bible encourages prayer and gratitude in response to challenging circumstances (Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

This is a quote from Esther 4:14, spoken by Queen Esther’s uncle, Mordecai. The Jews face annihilation at the hands of the Persians, and Mordecai encourages Esther to approach her husband, the king, and plead for the lives of her people.

Mordecai suggests that God has divinely appointed her for this task, and if she chooses not to obey, God will work through someone else instead. After this conversation with her uncle, Esther approaches the king without an invitation—an offense punishable by death—and convinces him to spare her people.

When people say “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” they’re often referring to 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states that God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,” and “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.”

However, Jesus also tells His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) As believers, we should expect challenges, and life may feel like more than we can handle. We can take comfort in the fact that God promises to be with us always, and He can work through the most difficult circumstances (Heb. 13:5).

In Genesis 1, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Each person is made in the image of God and designed to enjoy a relationship with Him. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, however, sin entered the world, destroying that perfect relationship (Rom. 5:12).

Without Christ, we are all “dead in your trespasses” (Col. 2:13), but when we believe that Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and trust in Him for salvation, we become children of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17)­.

Throughout the Old Testament, God often spoke to His people through prophets and spiritual leaders. Before sending His Son, however, God didn’t send a prophet to His people for roughly 400 years. And these 400 years were difficult! Israel experienced war and upheaval and was ultimately conquered by the Roman Empire.

Even though He was outwardly silent, God was working behind the scenes to send a Messiah who would save His people from their sins. God may not always speak to us how and when we’d like Him to, but we can trust that He is always working on our behalf.

The phrase “fearfully and wonderfully made” comes from Psalm 139:14. The surrounding verses explain God’s care in creating the psalmist, “knitt[ing] [him] together in [his] mother’s womb.”

The word “fearfully” refers to reverence or awe. Each person is made in God’s image and reflects His glory. Seeing God’s glory in His creation should fill us with a new reverence for Him. In addition to meaning good or miraculous, the word translated “wonderfully” can also mean set apart, so to be “fearfully and wonderfully made” is to be created with care and attention for a unique purpose.

Psalm 139:16 says, “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God in His sovereignty and omniscience knows exactly how many days each of us has here on earth. He knows our thoughts, struggles, and the choices we’ll make even before we do. He has a purpose and calling for each one of us (Eph. 2:10). While we can’t know how many days we have on earth, we can live without fear, knowing that each day comes from God.

God promises in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and God’s nature will not allow Him to lie or break a promise (Num. 23:19). Even when we are unfaithful or make mistakes, He is always faithful to us, and His love never wavers. Romans 8:38-39 states that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

If you’re feeling abandoned, meditate on these verses today, and seek out believers who can speak truth and encouragement into your life.

Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” But this is often easier said than done! If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, here are a few helpful verses to meditate on:
  • [Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7).
  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18).
  • Fear not, for I am with you;… I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Is. 41:10).
If negative thoughts are an ongoing struggle, you can always ask for help from a trusted friend, pastor, and/or qualified Christian counselor.

Romans 12:19 states “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” God is a just judge, and He asks us to leave judgment and vengeance in His hands. God’s justice may not align with our ideas of revenge, but we can rest in the knowledge that one day each person will have to give an account of their actions before God (2 Cor. 5:10).  

Yes! The Bible is filled with verses and stories about the faithfulness of God. Here are just a few examples:
  • “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’” (Exod. 34:6).
  • “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds” (Ps. 36:5).
  • “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
Here are a few verses to share with or pray over your son as you teach him to know and follow God:
  • 1 Timothy 4:12 states, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” This verse encourages spiritual growth and maturity but also outlines 5 key areas you can pray for in your son’s life.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 advises “Trust in the Lord with all your heart … and he will make straight your paths.” Pray for your son to learn to trust God and submit to Him.
  • Micah 6:8 outlines how we can live a life pleasing to God: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Pray that God will work in your son’s life to develop justice, mercy, and a close relationship with Him.

Many scriptures about expectation refer to the salvation we have in Christ and the hope of spending eternity with Him. Ephesians 1:13-14 for example says, “When you… believed in him, [you] were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” Philippians 1:20-21 and Hebrews 12:1-2 also encourage us to persevere in faith because we know the reward we have waiting for us in heaven.

God is infinitely loving and compassionate, and He only wants good things for us, so why do bad things still happen? Suffering is the result of living in a world that is broken by sin, and we may never fully know why God allows certain things to happen.

We do know, however, that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,” even amid hurt and suffering (Rom. 8:28), and that when we are in heaven with God “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4). No matter how bad things are right now, one day all things will be made right.

It’s heartbreaking when someone we know and love doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus or isn’t currently walking with Him. Maybe you’ve even been praying for them for years and haven’t seen the change you’re longing for in their life.

Know that God is listening to your prayers and is always at work. James 5:16 says that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working,” and passages like Luke 15:3-7 show God’s heart for pursuing and saving the lost. Each person has to decide for themselves whether they will believe in God and follow Him, but God can soften the hardest heart.

God, thank You for Your steadfast love and unending mercy toward me. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son and the gift of salvation that I could never earn or deserve. Thank You for being a God who keeps your promises, so I can live in confident hope of spending eternity with You. Fill me with contentment regardless of my circumstances and help me to walk in obedience to Your Spirit today and always. Amen.

Jesus teaches in Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,” which is why it’s important to guard our hearts against wrong beliefs, worry, anger, and anything else that can distract or hinder us in our Christian walk. Philippians 4:6-7 urges us to not be anxious but instead to pray so that the peace of God can guard our hearts and minds. Another great way to guard our hearts is by meditating on scripture and the character of God.

Here are a few verses to share with or pray over your daughter as you teach her to know and follow God:

  • Proverbs 31:26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Pray that your daughter will grow in wisdom and kindness and use her words to encourage others.
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4 encourages women to “let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” Remind your daughter that God cares about what’s in her heart, not her external appearance, and pray that she will have a spirit of gentleness toward everyone she meets.
  • In Ephesians 2:10, Paul writes, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Your daughter is precious in God’s sight and created for a purpose. Pray that she will walk in God’s calling for her life.