Contentment Part 6
As we saw in part 5 last week, a key step in finding this desire of contentment which is a bit of a mystery is that we have peace with God our creator. And we saw that being justified by faith, we can have peace with God. If we have that, we have all we need to be content. But often times being in this world, our hearts grow restless, and we believe that if we have other things, that we would be content then, having forgot what really brings comfort, peace, and contentment. The hand of God's providence or plan for our lives does not always line up with what our hearts, desires, and dreams might be. But knowing that our God is infinitely wise, that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and thus knows what is always best for us, at times we grumble, moan, or complain with our circumstances in life, and we are not content.
So, what would happen if God gave us some of the things that we think would make us content? To say to God," I know what would make me content better than what You do?" What would this kind of thinking accomplish? God forbid that we ever would think that we know better than God what is best for us! Look at Paul's thorn in the flesh for a minute in 2Cor.12:7-10. We can be pretty sure he would not wish for something like that, that he could serve God just as well without it, that he could be just as good a Christian without it or accomplish just as much without it. We know God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). In verse 2Cor.12:7, Paul mentions twice that the thorn was given to him to keep him from exalting himself. Though he said it was to torment him, and even though he implored the Lord three times to take it away, the Lord's infinitely wise reason and response to him was that My grace will be sufficient for him.
Paul has great hope to get through this trial for in 1Cor. 10:13 he already stated, "No temptation(trial) has overtaken you but such as is common to man, and God is faithful, who WILL NOT allow you to be tempted(tried) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."(Emphasis mine) Paul states that he knows that through these difficulties, that the power of Christ dwells in Him, therefore he states that he will be well content with weaknesses, and a host of other things. English Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs states, "There are many things which you desire in your lives and think that you would be happy if you had them, yet when they come you do not find such happiness in them, but they prove to be the greatest crosses and afflictions that you have ever had." There can be no affliction greater than the mercies you have right now. That the Lord could have as easily have disposed of us in hell at our first sin, than having mercy upon us sinners. A great promise in Psalm 23:6,"Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your lives."
Job shares with his wife in Job 2:10,"Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity? Job helped himself against all murmuring thoughts against the providence of God's hand, with this consideration, that he had received as much as he has. Help us oh Lord to be more aware of what we have than what we do not. For by grace we are saved, is it not free to us? We have so much that is from Him to us, and His mercies are fresh and new to us every morning. What do we have that we have not received? Jeremiah Burroughs states, "If what we have were earned then it would be something, but when we consider that all is from God, for us to murmur at His dispensations is very evil." Psalm 107:1-2,"Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary." Is that not enough?
Elder Randy Slak