Squeech. Background noise pervades televised sports, its high pitch grinding at my inner ear bones.

Shaboom. Eeep. Whrr. Car radios, electronic signals, exhaust fans–life’s daily din raises the irritation.

Whaack. Fluorescents slam my pupils open.

Tick-tock. Minutes sift from my hours, progress slipping like sand through my fingers. Meager accomplishments pale in contrast to those yet to be done. Time shaves years of my life away.

Snip. Words, spoken and unspoken, scrape against my heart.

My senses balk at endless chafing. I reel from push-pulling on my heart and mind.

Life grates at me.

I could complain. Sometimes grating tempts me into a pity party. I whine to the Lord, since no one else listens as long. God’s patience continues for a moderate-level rant. He waits until the attitude’s sound grinds at my ear.

In trying to shake off the pitch of selfish laments, I can beg Him to adjust my tone.

He asks me to surrender my issues. He transforms irritants into character shaping tools. The Lord smooths patience and compassion onto my spirit. He carves humility into my dense areas. Layers of protective love oil me into a piece of handiwork more able to reflect His perspective.

I could complain, but gratefulness proves the better choice. Especially when life grates at me.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5, NIV).

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11, NIV).