The Groaning of Contentment

“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 5:4-5 4

Contentment is not a superficial happiness that views life through rose-colored glasses. Contentment doesn’t turn a blind eye toward the hardships of life, pretending everything is going to be okay. True contentment is only discovered in the awareness that we were not made for this world. Such honesty allows us to reject the pain and sin of this world as not part of God’s original plan. In no way is contentment a call to “suck up and bear it”. Rather, contentment is a call to cling to eternal realities in the midst of the pain and sin of this world.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Eternity in our hearts means simply that we will groan while in this world, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. Groaning is good for the soul. Groaning, also known as longing, yearning, reaching, wrestling . . . . Not only is it good for us, it’s unavoidable.

Evangelical Christianity often measures contentment by the level of personal satisfaction.  We can feel pressure to be satisfied with life when the questions are asked: “Are you satisfied where God has you?”, “Do you feel fulfilled in your career?”, “Are you at peace with the relationships in your life?” And if we answer “no” we get a finger waved in our faces. Tsk, tsk – where is our contentment?

Let me tell you, contentment goes far beyond a sense of satisfaction in the day-to-day living. Our struggle (and failure) to find contentment within the earthly realities of career, family, fame, or friendships, merely demonstrates we were made for something more. Certainly peace, fulfillment, and satisfaction are indicators of contentment, and God wants us to have his peace in the midst our circumstances. But just as real are the indicators of groaning, and longing, and reaching. If contentment flows from heavenly realities, doesn’t it make sense that we won’t feel a complete sense of satisfaction in this life? That’s good news for us who are dreamers, for us who are struggling.

How are you measuring contentment? Are those measurements healthy? Do you feel satisfied today or are your groans pulling you toward something greater?

Here’s a good truth upon which to base contentment:

“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.” Ecclesiastes 3:14

May we notice his kingdom work today and find peace in it.

 

 

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