Welcome to Living Contentment – your weekly nudge towards a life of Biblical contentment.
Here are today’s three contentment-related things for you to
read | do | pray
Wednesday afternoons I take a group of students over to the hospital in our town. Usually we spend our time going from room to room visiting patients in the pediatric ward. We sit and talk to the kids and their parents, listen to their stories, pray for them, and try to just be present with them. This week there was a pretty sad case. A young boy named Simeon – honestly hard to tell his age because of how skinny he was. He had a massive tumor hanging off his face, his eyes were glassy, skin faded. His parents were with him in a room -but there was no IV, no monitors, no oxygen – like you would imagine for a child so sick. He was dying of cancer, and there was nothing more that could be done.
For quite a while (and still…obviously) I couldn’t get the image out of my head. It prompted me to continue to pray for him, and to be thankful for what I have, as my life doesn’t have that kind of pain and sorrow. Reminding myself of how content I should be.
But then I had to stop myself.
Why am I basing my contentment on comparison?
Sure I could look at what his parents appear to be living through, and the problems I deal with and think “well….at least my life isn’t THAT hard.”
But that’s not contentment. Because as long as I’m comparing to something else – it can chance in a heart beat. That’s being happy with my current situation – not being content with whatever life gives me.
If that’s what I base my contentment on – what if I turn around and find someone whose life appears way easier and more pleasant than mine? Then what?
What if I were Simeon’s father? Should I then NOT be content because everyone else I see appears to be better off?
Seeing others can be a good reminder to be thankful for what we have. I think it’s healthy to be reminded to say “God – thank you so much for the health of my kids. Thank you that I’ve not had to deal with the pain of losing a child. God thanks for the medical care we’ve had access to. Thank you for the gift of healing you have given us when we’ve become sick.”
I think that’s a good reminder
But it’s a horrible comparison.
So often when we compare ourselves to others we pick someone who appears to be doing better than us. A life that appears easier, happier, more fun… But think of someone who you know is having a hard time right now.
Now – instead of thinking you should be content with your life simply because “you don’t have it that bad” pray two things:
1) for that person. That they would know God’s presence, love, acceptance, and mercy
2) thankfulness for what you have. Not that “at least my life isn’t THAT hard” but for the good things you often neglect. The things you assume you’ll have. The goodness that you take for granted.
God of mercy,
be with those who are suffering.
Help them find contentment in you alone.
Make us all mindful of what you have given us.
Help us see your goodness all around us.
Remind us we are not in competition for your love,
but that you spread it around unendingly.
Talk to you next Thursday!