An encouragement to contentment

A favored lament of children is, “that’s not fair!”  While spoken in more sophisticated tones and with a slight measure of less whining, adults have their own versions — “I just want what I’m due.  I’ve worked hard.”  Or, “Why are things always so hard for me?  Why can’t it be easy just once?”  Or, “I don’t want more than him; I only want what’s equitable — shouldn’t I have at least as much as him?”

But having the same as others is not always in our best spiritual interests, as Thomas Watson noted several centuries ago —

God sees, in his infinite wisdom, the same condition is not convenient for all; that which is good for one, may be bad for another; one season of weather will not serve all men’s occasions, one needs sunshine, another rain; one condition of life will not fit every man, no more than one suit of apparel will fit every body; prosperity is not fit for all, nor yet adversity. If one man be brought low, perhaps he can bear it better; he hath a greater stock of grace, more faith and patience; he can “gather grapes of thorns”, pick some comfort out of the cross: every one cannot do this. Another man is seated in an eminent place of dignity; he is fitter for it; perhaps it is a place that requires more parts of judgment, which every one is not capable of; perhaps he can use his estate better, he hath a public heart as well as a public place. The wise God sees that condition to be bad for one, which is good for another; hence it is he placeth men in different orbs and spheres; some higher, some lower. One man desires health, God sees sickness is better for him; God will work health out of sickness, by bringing the body of death, into a consumption. Another man desires liberty, God sees restraint better for him; he will work his liberty by restraint; when his feet are bound, his heart shall be most enlarged. Did we believe this, it would give a check to the sinful disputes and cavils of our hearts: shall I be discontented at that which is enacted by a decree, and ordered by a providence? Is this to be a child or a rebel? [The Art of Divine Contentment.]

 

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