The Senselessness of Discontent
I love Jeremiah Burrough’s frankness in this short extract from his book ‘The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment’:
'There is a great deal of folly, extreme folly, in a discontented heart; it is a foolish sin… It takes away the present comfort of what you have, because you have not something that you would have. What a foolish thing is this, that because I have not got what I want, I will not enjoy the comfort of what I have! Do you not account this folly in your children? : you give them some food and they are not contented, perhaps they say it is not enough, they cry for more, and if you do not immediately give them more they will throw away what they have. Though you account it folly in your children, yet you deal thus with God: God gives you many mercies, but you see others have more mercies than you and therefore you cry for more; but God does not give you what you want and because of that you throw away what you have – is not this folly in your hearts? It is unthankfulness.'
This reminded me of my four year old brother (I have now read this bit of Burrough’s to him!) who will throw a broken biscuit back into the tin. He wants a whole biscuit and if there are no whole biscuits he’ll eat nothing. In the same way, when we’re taken up with what we don’t have, God’s mercies can appear to us to be broken. My little brother’s broken biscuit is not what he envisaged it’s not what he wanted; it is not what his friend has, so instead he chooses nothing and pities himself. Does it make sense?
Suffering is hard. Illness is hard. The tasks given to us are often hard and not what we would have chosen for ourselves. But to become so engrossed in our troubles that we no longer recognise the abundant blessings that God pours out on us is not pleasing in His sight.
He knows the end from the beginning, He’s working all things for our good and out of His gracious compassion He pours mercies upon us. Don’t ignore them! Don’t dwell on what you don’t have! Trust in the Lord and thank Him for all that He has given you.