Anxiety is a fearful uncertainty over the future, whether short term or long term. Frustration is usually the result of some immediate event that has blocked my plans or desires. Discontentment, the subject of this chapter, most often arises from ongoing & unchanging circumstances that we can do nothing about
First, know that there is a place for legitimate discontentment. All of us should, to some degree, be discontent with our spiritual growth. If we are not, we will stop growing. There is also what we might call a prophetic discontentment with injustice & other evils in society that is coupled with a desire to see positive change.
The most frequent warnings in Scripture against discontentment concern money & possessions. A more common form of discontentment among committed Christians is an attitude that may be triggered by unchanging circumstances that are trials to our faith.
Examples: an unfulfiling or low-paying job, singleness well into midlife or beyond, inability to bear children, an unhappy marriage, physical disabilities, continual poor health.
The cause of our discontentment may even be trivial at times. However good our overall circumstances may be, there is often some small thing over which we can become discontent.
It is our response to our circumstances rather than the degree of difficulty that determines whether or not we are discontent.
We need to recognize that discontentment is SIN. We are responding no differently from unbelievers who never factor God into their situations. We are back to our ungodliness as the root cause of our sins.
We tolerate them in our lives with hardly a second thought. Discontentment, for example, can easily lead to resentment or bitterness toward God or other people.
Whatever your cirumstances, & however difficult they may be, the truth is that they are ordained by God for you as part of His overall plan for your life. God does nothing, or allows nothing, without a purpose. And His purposes, however mysterious & inscrutable they may be to us, are always for His glory & our ultimate good.
We can resign ourselves to circumstances we know will never change but still harbor in our hearts a smoldering discontentment. It is neither in resignation nor submission but only in acceptance that we find peace.
Acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trust that He unerringly knows what is best for you & that in His love, He purposes only that which is best. "God, how can I use my disability (or whatever the difficult circumstance may be) to serve You & glorify You?"
The importance of a firm belief in the sovereignty, wisdom, & goodness of God in all the circumstances of our lives. Whether those circumstances are short term or long term, our ability to respond to them in a God-honoring & God-pleasing manner depends on our ability & willingness to bring these truths to bear on them.
These are excerpts from "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges.