I love my dog. I mean, what’s not to love about Cocoa? She’s a two-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever who loves to cuddle. She’s the epitome of sweetness—well, at least until you get her around food…or ice. Cocoa loves ice.
One summer afternoon, I went into the backyard with two pieces of ice in my hand, one for her and one for me. Yes, I admit I like to chew on it too. “Cocoa, sit,” I commanded. Seeing the ice, she obeyed straightaway. I tossed a piece of ice towards her. She caught it midair and pranced away.
But when I sat down on the grass to enjoy my cool treat, Cocoa immediately bounded back over. While lunging for my piece, she dropped hers on the ground. What a selfish little pup!
I popped what was left of mine into my mouth and shook my head. “Naughty dog, Cocoa,” I managed. Disappointed, she went looking for the piece she had dropped, but by that time it had melted into the lawn. In the process of looking for more, she’d lost her treat altogether.
As I watched her searching the grass, I realized: That’s just how I act sometimes.
Instead of enjoying what God has given me, I drop it while frantically trying to grasp what I think is better. In the process, I miss out. I get so distracted I rush through the experience without even retaining any memories of it. My obsession with “What’s next?” makes it difficult for me to enjoy the moment. Sometimes I even feel jealous of people who are where I wish I could be.
Thanks to my discontentment, I reap nothing good whatsoever. It can be ugly. It can be wasteful. And it can be, as Solomon put it, “a chasing after the wind.”
But that’s our human nature! Instead of enjoying what God has given us, we ignore it. Then we spend all our efforts frantically trying to grasp what we think is better. But it turns out to be nothing.
Saul is a perfect biblical example of discontentment. Everything was going well in his life. He was a king, he was wealthy, he had a nice family. But rather than focusing on the Lord’s blessings, he dwelled on what he couldn’t have—a lifetime reign.
It was time to let the new king come to power, but Saul didn’t want to retire. He wasn’t satisfied with what he was given, so he tried to extend his reign by hunting down and exterminating David, the rival to his throne. What did Saul gain in the end? Nothing but heartache, bitterness, and jealousy.
Sometimes it’s difficult to be content. But when we’re greedily rushing ahead we tend to make things harder for ourselves. Charles Spurgeon says:
You are in a great hurry to do something or other, and that something or other does more mischief than could possibly have happened if you had kept still, resting in the Lord, and waiting patiently for him. Instead of doing so, you rush this way, and that way, and so add to your worries instead of decreasing them. You are like the servant with the basket of eggs on her head, who shakes her head because she is afraid her eggs will fall, and makes them fall by the very process of her trembling. So, you go and make ten troubles in endeavoring to get out of one.
Are you focusing on the blessings God has given you? Or are you obsessed with what you want Him to provide? Wait on the Lord, but wait with patience. Wait with joy. Dwell on His goodness and provision.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
If you know someone who struggles with discontentment, will you email them this post to encourage them?