When we face trials and afflictions, sometimes we complain. We grumble why such and such is happening to us, we complain that other people deserve the trial, or we murmur at the pain and hardship of it all. Even mature Christians sometimes grumble when trials come. If the trial is really difficult, it’s hard not to complain! Thomas Brooks (d. 1680) talked about this in the middle of his book written to those suffering trials and affliction (The Mute Christian under the Smarting Rod):
“[Dear Christian], of all men in the world, you have least cause, yea, no cause to be murmuring and muttering under and dispensation that you meet with in this world. Is not God your portion? Chrysostom asks this question, ‘Was Job miserable when he had lost all that God had given him?’ and gives this answer, ‘No, he still had the God that gave him all.’ Is not Christ thy treasure? Is not heaven your inheritance – and will you murmur? …Has not God given you a changed heart, a renewed nature, and a sanctified soul, and will you murmur? Has not God given himself to you to satisfy you? Has not he given his Son to save you, his Spirit to lead you, his grace to adorn you, his covenant to assure you, his mercy to pardon you, his righteousness to clothe you, and will you murmur?”
“Has not God often turned your water into wine, your brass into silver, your silver into gold? When you were dead in sin, did he not quicken you? When you were lost, did he not seek you? When you were wounded, did he not heal you? And when you were falling, did he not support you? And when you were down, did he not raise you up? And when you were staggering, did he not strengthen you? And when you were erring, did he not correct you? When you were tempted, did he not help you? And when you were in danger, did he not deliver you? And will you murmur?
It may seem a bit harsh to rebuke someone for complaining while they are going through a difficult trial. But we have to remember that grumbling is a serious sin (Num. 14). Furthermore, even through trials Christians should want to avoid sin and do what is right in God’s sight. The rhetorical questions Brooks asked are good ones to go through as we aim to suffer without grumbling. Trials are miserable and more difficult than some people realize. But the Christian need not grumble because the promises of Scripture are true: God is with us and loves us, Jesus died to save us, and the Spirit is at work in us (etc. etc.)!
The edited quote above is found in volume 1 of Brooks’ Works, page. 340.