Lamentations 3:37-39 reads, “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed? Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?”
When we complain, we’re essentially voicing a grievance with God, accusing Him of some injustice in our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we’re complaining about traffic or our unfair boss; we’re saying that God is not enough to make us joyful in our circumstances. When Paul and Silas were in prison (Acts 16), they started singing. Earlier that day, they had been beaten with rods. Paul, being a Roman citizen, was imprisoned without a trial illegally. Yet they were still singing hymns to God.
What situation can we face that is worse than theirs? There are a few situations I would less like to be in, it’s true, such as losing my wife, but while we’re never commanded to always be happy, we are told to constantly think on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil. 4:7). You’re also to cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
When we complain, we take the cares of this world on ourselves. Doing that takes our mind of God and His power to make us content no matter our circumstances. It is often sinful, particularly if it leads to a grudge. And, though we can address a matter that’s unjust, merely complaining about it will never do any good, or at least, not nearly as much good as trusting in God will.
Paul could have demanded a trial at any point and he would almost certainly have gotten one. He didn’t because God had a plan that was greater than Paul’s back; God intended to save the jailer and his family. When you have a situation you want to complain about, think for a moment about Paul and Silas. God might have given you that situation to bless or amaze someone else with your peace through God or He might have allowed it to test your faith in and dependence on Him.