Murmuring and Being Content

 

It is so easy to slip into discontent.

It is so easy to be ingracious.

It is so easy to refrain from giving thanks and to enjoy the blessings of the moment. And when we don’t enjoy these blessings, our discontent is path to an empty life.

Our Declaration of Independence, a powerful and world-changing document, includes this important sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness.” We have those rights but pursuing complete liberty and pursuing happiness may not be in our best interests. If there is one thing that seems certain it is that pursuing happiness at least, is a very frustrating pursuit–a pursuit that is doomed to failure. Happiness is always running away from us, even when we grasp it for a moment, it seems to slip through our fingers, elusive and intangible. It is the reason why, after winning the Superbowl, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have both been quoted as saying and feeling,  “Is this all there is?” To be sure, there was happiness and joy, but as soon as it was attained, they sensed it retreating from them. 

That’s life.

We achieve happiness and yet we know it won’t last, and a haunting voice seems to whisper “this is not enough, there has got to be more,” so, off we run to find the next thing to finally put a stopper in the hole out of which our soul leaks its happiness. 

If pursuing happiness is a dead end, what is it that will finally content our hearts?  

Dr. A.J. Cronin, was a practicing physician in a small Welsh mining community before he became a novelist. He tells the story of a remarkable nurse he was once privileged to work alongside. For more than twenty years Oliven Davies had served the people with competence, patience, and cheerfulness. Her friend, the doctor, resented the inadequate salary with which her selfless work was rewarded in the socialist healthcare system of England.

“Late one night after a particularly strenuous case, I ventured to protest to her as we drank a cup of tea together. “Nurse,” I said, “why don’t you make them pay you more? It’s ridiculous that you should work for so little.” She raised her eyebrows slightly. But she smiled, “I have enough to get along.” “No really,” I protested and persisted, “you ought to have an extra pound a week at least. God knows you’re worth it.”

“There was a pause. Her smile remained but her gaze held a gravity, an intensity, that startled me. Doctor!” she said, “if God knows I’m worth it, that’s all that matters!””

—Christian Victory[1]

[1] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

Nurse Davies had learned a secret. If you know you are King’s child, if you know you belong to the One who valued you enough to come, and live, and die, and rise, and who forgives and is coming back for you—that is enough. 

Center your heart in that truth. 

Let is sustain you.

Let it envelope you.

Let it bring you joy and open your mouth in praise.


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