I have so many things for which I am grateful. There are really too many for me to list, and even if I did, my list would probably look a lot like yours. So instead of telling you about all the blessings in my life, I am going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes I struggle with discontent.
Oops. Did I really say that? Yeah, because unfortunately it’s true. There is a part of me that tends to whine. I really don’t want to, but there it is. I can find fault with my job, my church, my family, my house, even the dog. Nothing is exempt when it comes to my periodic episodes of whining.
Even in the midst of my grumbles, however, I do know that the real problem is me. I have not yet learned the secret of being content in every circumstance; it just doesn’t come naturally for me. I wish I could learn it through osmosis. I would go to sleep at night under an osmosis gadget and wake up fully contented. Why does contentment have to be learned? And why does the lesson have to revolve around difficulties? I have learned that trying to wiggle out of the lesson does no good. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck on the equivalent of “See, see. Oh see. See Dick”, but if I don’t master the simple lessons, I am not allowed to move on.
We really don’t take kindly to the idea that hard times can teach us contentment. We prefer to think that contentment flourishes when our life is filled with sunshine. But Paul, the great apostle, said he learned contentment during times of plenty and hunger, and abundance and need. Did you know that Paul was shipwrecked three times? Or that he spent a day and a night floating in the open sea? Receiving thirty-nine lashes from the Jews on five separate occasions is horrific beyond description, and yet at the end of it all, Paul said he had learned to be content.
I still have a long way to go in learning the secret of contentment, but I am definitely on the learning curve. I am not where I want to be, but because I have a wonderful Teacher, I am not where I started.
I am learning that contentment gives birth to thankfulness. The more I get that God truly is sovereign, and that His plan for my life truly is good, the more thankful I become.