Friday, September 23, 2016

Contentment


Contentment.. these days it seems to be an elusive slippery thing.  For many of us it comes and goes like the tides on the shore. 
When all is right in our worlds and we are pampered and pleased.. when the kids are well behaved and top of their class and your husband gets that coveted promotion.. when the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies wafts from the oven and you’re family and friends are coming over for an evening of hotdogs and laughter around the fire.. we think that’s it.  We sigh easily and Flesh throws his arm around our shoulders and says,
                “Haul that log over here and prop your weary feet up.  Ahh, much better. Isn’t this the life?! Look around, what more could you need or ask for?!”
You lean back and smile big at the stars overhead.. Flesh holds out an object in the darkness and you reach out and pull it in close.. wrapping your hands and heart and mind tight around this cup of contentment. Drinking it down deep your soul belly fills with the faux liquid. 

But what about next week or next month, when your teenage son rebels and insurance doesn’t cover the emergency root canal… what about when your husband brings home brussel sprouts instead of chocolate and you burn Sunday dinner. Where does that liquid that had just filled flow out too when your closest friend moves out of state and you don’t get a call back from that job interview?

Is contentment just like a high?  Does it come and go from day to day, hour to hour, depending on the air and environment that we are breathing in? Is it that heavier liquid that gets weighted down and settles at the bottom, as doubt, worry, fear, and the fight for control form layers above it?  Is the state of our hearts no more than an elementary science experiment? Where the liquids are all dumped in a jar.. and as long as our worlds and days are being rocked and shaken by excitement and activity contentment flows all through.. but when we are left sitting and alone, after all the dust settles and the last car pulls out of the drive-way, contentment disappears somewhere there on the bottom.. once again locked in by the layers above.
Is true contentment so easily lost?
Are the promises, and life made available through Christ hidden and mysterious?! ..slippery to hold on to.. Requiring a tight and unrelenting grip on our part? 
Is contentment an object to be attained or a Life to be received?

What if contentment could be as real and sure as a rock jutting out into the ocean.. unchanged by the unrelenting waves.  What if contentment for you and for me could be like that mountain stream.. always bubbling, flowing, and falling, but never extinguishing. 
Yeah, that brimming cup full that flesh handed you might feel really good in the moment.. but it doesn’t last.   That is a liquid surrounded by sides and a bottom.. there is no external source renewing and refilling.  Fleshly contentment requires doses, one cup every six hours, and best results are found if the doses are administered while the patient is surrounded by the people and things they love.

But Jesus.. He promises perfect peace, and joy and love unending, all the things that we endlessly search for in this world to give us that coveted contented soul.
The Bible says HE is The Vine. 
Unlike a cup full with the surface exposed, vines carry their life and their sustenance on the inside…
So when He {in}dwells and I abide.. those refreshing waters flow untouched, their surface unmarred by environmental circumstances..  For, they are incased in and flow through a Life that is undefeatable and impenetrable. 
The waters of contentment that are found in Jesus Christ require the patient to rest, abide, and trust in The One who upholdeth all things. 

So, if you want to keep taking those glass fulls.. then that is your choice. But as for me, I long to drop to my knees beside that stream that ever flows and drink down its endless depths.  I believe that I have access to a contentment that cannot be touched by this world.  And I am in pursuit. 
I have not yet perfectly attained.. and some days the rain streaks these dirty windows and I sit in a quiet house and the layers start to settle. 
Some days I don’t fling open wide the door of my heart to allow Christ's life to flow.. and I get restless and depressed and down. Some days I look at lives around and see them sparkling and shining with excitement and I lay my head on the eager and open shoulder of Flesh and let him tell me how lucky everyone else is and how bad I’ve got it. 

But I know, and firmly believe that it does not have to be that way.  I believe that rain can fall outside while praises are being sung inside.  I believe that I can find endless satisfaction and ultimate contentment in Jesus Christ no matter what the day holds. I believe that I can walk through loss and lack and disappointment with a smile that engulfs my soul.  I believe Jesus did more than provide an abundant and amazing life for me in the here-after... I believe He has made a way for me to experience that even here in this sin-stained world.


So find that untainted water my soul, drink deep and be filled.. Your life, or should I say QUALITY of life, depends on it!


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