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Has life disappointed you or those you love?

when life disappoints you and those you love

Contentment celebrates grace. The contented heart is satisfied with the Giver and is therefore freed from craving the next gift.

Has life disappointed you or those you love? This statement made by Paul Tripp in New Morning Mercies just jumped out at me. It is my continued longing to be satisfied with the Lord.

Contentment and trust in God have been a life lesson for me. This theme has been a thread woven through out the years I have known the Lord and I am forever grateful. Through hard times and happy times, through trust and confusion, through life and death situations, I know my only hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know He is God. I know He created me. I know He loves me. I know and love that He is sovereign. And, I know He alone is worthy of my worship and He is who I put my trust in…not what I see, but Him.

These are the truths I tell myself when I am hurting, afraid, lonely, or angry…even when my heart goes astray these truths draw me back.

On his January 6th post in his New Morning Mercies book, Paul David Trip Points out that, “sin does two very significant things to us all. First, it causes us all to insert ourselves into the center of our worlds, making life all about us. In our self-focus, we are all too motivated by our wants, our needs and our feelings and because we are, we tend to be more aware of what we don’t have than many of the wonderful blessings that we have been given. “

He continues, “But there is more; because we are self-focused, we tend to be scorekeepers, constantly comparing our piles of stuff to the piles of others. It’s a life of discontentment and envy. Envy is always selfish.”

We are too motivated by our wants, needs, and feelings. We tend to be scorekeepers & comparing.

I don’t know if any of you ever feel like that, but I know I do. As I walk through my home with someone who has never been here to show them around I am compelled to comment on the improvements I want to make instead of the aspects I am thankful for.

As I sit here waiting for news about our oldest son’s return home from the Army and completion of time “the box” without communication home, I am near tears. I need to hear from him. Well, actually, what I really need to do is to stop and think…what if as hard as it is for him and us, what he needs is more time in the Army?

What if what he is going through is for his GOOD and God’s Glory…oh, wait…it is.

I need to tell myself the truth and quiet my fears. We have this promise. Our God can be trusted…whatever the outcome. Trust me, I am still praying hard for his soon return, but it comes from a heart of peace when my focus is upward. When the desperation returns, I remind myself who my God is…and that His character is perfect.

What if the cares of this world have me feeling overwhelmed? I feel like I NEED a vacation. A break. Some peace and quiet. What if what I really need is precious time with the Lord and to learn to remain under the trials of the day or season of life? Before you think, even for a moment, that I am saying vacations aren’t needed, that is NOT what I am saying. I enjoy time away and I really enjoy peace and quiet. ☺ What I am saying is, sometimes what we see as rest, is different than what God would have for us…and He gives us what we need. Do I pine away for what I want or do I embrace what He has in these moments and trust Him for the strength and grace.

Paul Trip also writes…”I am NOT the center of my world. God is.” Ouch…right? Do we even realize that we are thinking this way?

How about the single person who is looking and seeing “everyone” around her getting married and wondering what is wrong with her? Why am I still single? Or the married person who is surrounded by pregnant women and longs to be a parent. Or the parent who longs for a bigger home for her family. Or the mom that longs to be less busy. Or, woman in her senior years who is at home due to illness and feels useless. Discontent creeps in at every side and in every season.

Where do we go when we feel this way? To Whom do we run? We have God’s Word and we have His truth.

One place I run is to Psalm 73:25-26. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Let’s look at the flip side…maybe we are in a strong minute or season…

When our dear friends come to us…do they need our sympathetic, “don’t worry…you’ll get married”. Or, “marriage, its not all its cracked up to be anyway…” or, “its better to be single wanting to be married than married wanting to be single…” Or, “when you are ready…it will happen…” Or, “those kids are coming! You’ve got plenty of time” Or, “I knew someone who had 10 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment…” Or, “retirement is for relaxing…just enjoy!”

Are we motivated by the desire to see them “cheered up”? Do we minimize the tool God is using in their lives? Or, are we content with the fact that our God is trustworthy and at work in them just as He is in us. Are we content to allow someone to go through a hard time without “fixing it”? Are we convinced that what will help our dear sisters in the Lord is dependence on God in the midst of the pains and sorrows of this life?

Do we really believe that God gives good gifts to His children…even when the gift we are looking at doesn’t look so good to us?

We must encourage one another to look up…Our God is Sovereign and He is in control. He loves us. AND He gives us GOOD gifts. Both the single and the married, the moms and the childless, the retired and the employed…we all need to run to the Lord for the answers, comfort and encouragement and direction when hurting or desiring something more or different.

We not only need to have bold faith in the Lord as we talk to ourselves, but our sisters in Christ need the same.

Paul David Trip continues, “There is a second thing of equal significance that sin does to us. It causes us to look horizontally for what can only ever be found vertically. So we look to creation for life, hope, peace, rest, contentment, identity, meaning and purpose, inner peace and motivation to continue. The problem is that nothing in creation can give you these things. Creation was never designed to satisfy your heart. Creation was made to be one big finger pointing you to the One who alone has the ability to satisfy your heart.”

We look to creation for life, hope, peace, rest, contentment, identity, meaning and purpose, inner peace and motivation to continue.

In Roman’s 1:25, the writer describes those who God is giving over…he said they “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. When we look to creation (people, places, things, etc…) as something to be served and worshiped we will always come up short. I’m not saying that we are bowing down to it…but it’s place in our hearts and our reactions when we don’t get what we want reveal that we esteem the created much more highly than is honoring to our God.

I’m not saying that we are bowing down to it…but it’s place in our hearts and our reactions when we don’t get what we want reveal that we esteem the created much more highly than is honoring to our God.

Can I pick on Social Media for a minute…I know I’m not the first…

Well, let me begin by saying, that I actually enjoy Facebook and Instagram for the most part. I enjoy keeping up with people from all stages of life. I enjoy the encouragement and silly laughs. But…what about this…

Do you ever see your friends having fun together and you are NOT there? And, weren’t invited? Do you think, “I wish I was there”? Why am I not included? Why does “everyone else do fun things together? (Remember the point from earlier? Our world is NOT centered on US) Do you zoom in on the picture to see who was there? Or, Are you able to see the pictures and think I am SO happy for them! What a blessing that they got to have fun together? I’m so thankful they had that time!

Do you see the “highlight reel that is placed before you to view…all the good, funny, staged moments of life and wonder why your life doesn’t look more like theirs? We all know that even their lives don’t look like this, right? But…even in that statement, I make my own point…why can’t I look at the “highlight reel” and thank God for the good gifts He has given my friend? Why do I comfort myself with the thought that NO ONE’s life is actually perfect? The content person looks to God for satisfaction and looks to the good gifts He has given them as what is best for them. And when we stray…find comfort in God’s character and very personal love for us…not in the fact that everyone’s plight in this life is messy.

You see, when Paul Tripp says that creation was never designed to satisfy our hearts, he means people too. As fun and meaningful as fellowship is, it will not satisfy. As much of a blessings as relationships are, they will not make us content. As much as our family is amazing and our priority, God is still better. It should bring us joy to see others living life and experiencing the kindness of the Lord.

All Creation only leaves us wanting more…our Creator satisfies. He is enough. Creation was only ever meant to point us to God. It was only ever meant to bring Him glory. Creation is a good gift…the Giver is even better.

Trip closes by saying, “Here is one of the most beautiful fruits of grace—a heart that is content, more given to worship than demand and move given to the joy of gratitude than the anxiety of want. It is grace and grace alone that can make this kind of peaceful living possible for each of us. “

I want to close with a statement from the book If by Amy Charmichael. She said:

“If I wonder why something trying is allowed and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Let’s be those women who can look to God in our disappointments. Let’s be those woman who can praise Him both in the heights and the depths of life because He is good.


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