Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age

It’s my hope and prayer that this book will help people to better understand and learn contentment.

There is a story behind every book. The story for this book was painfully sweet and stitched to my soul. A couple of years ago I was enduring a particularly difficult season. It seemed as though God had allowed affliction to hover like a rain cloud over my life. Pastoral ministry was especially trying even as I encountered a number of new health problems. This, along with the regular stiff headwind of living in a fallen world, had me weary.

 

I’m excited to announce today’s release of my book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway). It’s my hope and prayer that this book will help people to better understand and learn contentment.

There is a story behind every book. The story for this book was painfully sweet and stitched to my soul. A couple of years ago I was enduring a particularly difficult season. It seemed as though God had allowed affliction to hover like a rain cloud over my life. Pastoral ministry was especially trying even as I encountered a number of new health problems. This, along with the regular stiff headwind of living in a fallen world, had me weary.

But I was more than weary. I was restless. And, upon further review, I was discontent. In God’s providence I was preaching through the book of Hebrews at the time. The thick, dark rain clouds of affliction cast a shadow over my studies and even, I regret, some of my preaching. Looking back, I am reminded of William Cowper’s hymn “God Moves in Mysterious Ways.” He writes:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take!
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
in blessings on your head;

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

One day as I opened my Bible to study, the cloud burst with blessings on my head. I read chapter 13 of Hebrews:

“. . . be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6)

Through these verses God began to remind me afresh that despite anything I can (and must) be content in God. He, not my circumstances, is the source of my contentment. Furthermore, my contentment will be fed by God’s Word.

This led to me scribbling down questions, thoughts, confessions, and fresh discoveries of grace. Over the next several weeks I would marinate in this text and the subject of contentment. I would preach, write, and talk with members of our congregation. God was teaching us about contentment. He was teaching us about who he is and how our contentment ultimately is in him. Indeed, behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face. Seeing this face, through the eyes of faith, creates and sustains contentment.

Read More