Last Sunday I was awoken at 12:30am with a funny feeling that the burger from earlier was not going to remain where it should. No graphic details here, but let’s just say I found myself kowtowing to the porcelain queen seven times from the effects of a nasty virus. At several points throughout the night I really thought there was nothing more I could contribute to the cause, but my stomach seemed to think otherwise. Lest you think I’m going to divulge all of my health issues, I’m going somewhere with this.
Over the past several weeks I’ve had conversations, read blogs, and listened to sermons all dealing with “discontentedness.” Seems there is a pervasive, gut-wrenching virus that has permeated hearts and minds with discontentedness for present circumstances and its overwhelming demands. Individuals sick of being single, feeling like they have nothing left to give to the cause and desperate to get out, run to any relationship within reach. Irony abounds as married folks proclaim “Enough!” and look for ways out. The most heart wrenching was the story of a young couple who’s marriage ended after only a few years, when one spouse declared “Enough!” and the other, was left reeling to the point of suicide.
This isn’t the productive discomfort of an eagle’s nest which eventually forces the eaglet to launch from the nest and soar to new heights. No, this type of discontentment, if acted upon, leaves heartache, destruction, pain, and sorrow in its wake. The tricky thing about the discontentment virus is that it can be easy to catch (no amount of hand washing will ward it off), because life on this side of Heaven will never meet all of our expectations.
So how is Paul able to write this from the middle of a jail cell?
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel… Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.” (Philippians 1:12, 19)
Ever feel like you are imprisoned to singleness? For the married readers, ever feel like you are chained to your spouse to the point of suffering? Discontentment would say you don’t deserve to be imprisoned to your circumstances, and most likely, you don’t deserve to be, but what if there was another perspective? What if whatever you are facing that seems overwhelming could actually serve to advance the Gospel? If there is one thing that discontentment hates, it is perspective. Perspective requires us to come outside of self and see our world from a different vantage point. Here’s a little SAT question for ya, discontentment is to tunnel, as perspective is to _____?… Space, (as in the outer one, perhaps?) Perspective, the ability to see the reason or purpose for our circumstances, doesn’t come easy or immediately (I mean, you have to be really smart and have a million dollar rocket to get to outer space for that kind of perspective on things or you could watch Gravity, but that’s not real).
Paul writes in James (1:2-4), “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” For you math majors, did you see the equation there? Trials + Faith + Perseverance = NOT LACKING ANYTHING
Discontentment says you lack everything. Kick it to the curb, because it will never be satisfied. When you are single, discontentment says you need a spouse. When you are married, discontentment says you need freedom or a spouse that loves you better. Recognize the virus of discontentment when it tries to creep into your life and flush it down the porcelain throne.
Spend some time praying for the marriages of your friends and family this Monday. Pray for perseverance to develop so that they will lack nothing. Pray for the budding relationships of spring to flourish and take root in faith. Pray for perspective to guide those infected with the discontentment virus.
Bowing to the Throne,