Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness

In her new book, Contentment: Seeing God's Goodness, Megan Hill reminds us that complaining or being discontent can often be a sinful response to our circumstances.

Whether or not we’re aware, we spend a lot of time complaining. Isn’t it just part of being human? After all, we live in a fallen world, and life can be difficult. Our bodies get sick and hurt. Our relationships suffer. Work is hard. But is that all there is to it?

 

Do you ever think about how much we complain? We complain about the weather: too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. We complain about our jobs: deadlines, difficult bosses, co-workers. We complain about our families: our spouses, children, in-laws. We complain about life: traffic, waiting rooms, jury duty, illness. We complain about the church: our pastors, the sermon, the music, the a/c. And politics? Well, that too.

Whether or not we’re aware, we spend a lot of time complaining. Isn’t it just part of being human? After all, we live in a fallen world, and life can be difficult. Our bodies get sick and hurt. Our relationships suffer. Work is hard. But is that all there is to it?

In her new book, Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness, Megan Hill reminds us that complaining or being discontent can often be a sinful response to our circumstances. Why is it sinful? It’s sinful because it says we don’t really trust God to take care of us. And that can start a domino effect of other sinful behaviors.

As Hill explains:

Once it takes hold of our hearts, discontent quickly leads to other sins. Because we fundamentally distrust what God is doing in and for us, our hearts give way to worry. Every new circumstance feels surprising and potentially harmful. Everything from the flu to the presidential election brings an onslaught of uncertainty. We do not believe that God is caring for us, and we have little confidence that the events in our lives will be for our good, so our minds and hearts spin with anxiety.(11)

So how do we find contentment in our sinful, fallen world? We’re tempted to say, “If I just had (fill in the blank), then I’d be content.” But that’s not true. Like kids with new toys, even when we get what we want, before long we’re right back to saying, “If I just had.”

Is the answer to contentment a Zen-like detachment from the world around us? Should we just not care or attempt to be stoic and unemotional? No, as we’ve said, there are real pains and sorrows all around us. Consider the Psalms. David and other psalmists cried out to God in the midst of painful circumstances. Jesus was “sorrowful and troubled” (Matt 26:37) before He went to the cross.

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