“Well, I – I think that it – it wasn’t enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em – and it’s that – if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?” Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of OZ
It is no secret to those in the immediate sphere of my life that I have struggled in being “content in every circumstance.” My discontent was not from a lack of more or better “stuff” because I am not a “stuff” oriented person. By God’s grace I am largely content with simple things and they bring me great pleasure and joy.
I do confess that I have often been discontent in the physical circumstances that I find myself in. I deeply desire to live my life to minister and serve other women and the people in their lives and “real life” always seems to get in the way of this desire. This leads to resentment and discontent of the circumstance that brings me to being discontent in the first place. It is a vicious circle. It is unwelcome. It is where I found myself living for quite some time, and it is sinful.
If this describes you too, I want to share with you some of the things I know to be true in the hope that perhaps you will learn to be content and accepting of where God has you at this time in your life.
First, the God of “Yes” is the same God of “No.” I find it sickly amusing that I so love to praise God when His answer to me is “yes” regarding a prayer or a blessing of some sort and I forget that when He says “No” that He is still the same wonderful and glorious God. If God has quietly closed the door on your dreams of (insert here) He intends to bring good out of it. In spite of your feelings today, soon you will realize that the God who tells you that He is for you and not against you (Romans 8:31) and that He intends to bring good out of this time.
I don’t have to know the end of the story because God does. In spite of how I may feel like I am wandering aimlessly through the desert of uncertainty because I don’t like my situation, I am not wandering at all.
I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. Romans 1:13 (NASB)
Paul had a plan and that plan was thwarted. He was prevented from accomplishing his goal of going to Rome and at first he did not understand this for he greatly desired to go there. His intentions were honorable and it made perfect sense to him to do this, but the Holy Spirit said “No.” Paul surrendered his own desires to those of the Holy Spirit and we are to do the same.
Notice that when Paul speaks of God’s plan being different than his own there is no discontent or angry bitter tone in his words. John MacArthur in his commentary on Romans says, ” Paul’s eagerness to serve God was always directed by the will of God. He did not serve in the direction of his own desires and insight but according to the will of the One he served.”
Oh that we would have the same attitude! By the grace and enabling of God- we can.
Remember, God is not beholden to you and He does not answer to us for His decisions and actions in our lives. He is the Potter, we are the clay. We can no more tell God how to order our lives than the clay can command the potter at his wheel.
Discontented one, if you remember these things and take them to heart it will ease the pain and disappointment that are understandably human and help you to reorder your perspective around to what you will soon see as the perfect will of God on display in your life.