Before I continue with part 3 of “What Contentment Isn’t”, I wanted to clarify. In part 2, I described how contentment doesn’t mean we can’t “moan and complain to God and to our friends” about our difficulties. That way, they can then “speak a word in season to [our] weary soul”Jeremiah Burroughs reminds us . Here’s how we can respond (and how not to!) when some dear friend does speak those words to us.
During a dark valley in my life a few years ago, the Lord pointed out something to me. My trusted counsellors, wanting to lift me out of the pit I was in, would remind me of what the Bible says — words meant to comfort and encourage me. And what was my response? Here’s a little sample of how it sometimes went:
Friend (or sister, or mother): Remember, the Lord has loved you with an everlasting love. Absolutely nothing can separate you from His love! (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:35)
Me: Yeah, but He also disciplines those He loves [see what I did there? “Refuting” scripture with other scripture?]
Friend: God’s grace is everything you need; His strength is made perfect in your weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9)
Me: Yeah, but what if ____X____ happens?
Friend: Then He promises to be with you and carry you through it. (Isaiah 63:9)
Me: Yeah, but I don’t want to go through that…
(ad infinitum, ad nauseum)
You get the picture. Every time my sister would give wise counsel, I would raise some objection, saying, “Yeah, but….” I began to listen to myself in these conversations, anticipating the predictable “Yeah, but”. It rang a bell somehow. Sort of sounded a bit like this guy,
That habit of argumentation is what the Bible calls being contentious. It means to be debating, in strife, even brawling.
“Better to dwell in the wilderness Than with a contentious and angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19
What a difference it made to shut down my objections and fearful “what ifs”! I’m sure my trusty counsellors were relieved too. I’m grateful they didn’t give up on me for sending the message that I really wasn’t interested or willing to hear the best help they had to offer. And once I stopped with the contentions, it was wonderful just to receive the comfort and encouragement that God’s Word offers.