Today we continue to look at the discontented heart. I wanted to write about the expectations we place upon each other when we see someone struggling with discontent.
Keeping the stiff upper lip and not letting anyone see the inner turmoil that is going on within you because it does not look Christian to let other people know or see that you are struggling. This has unwittingly (I hope) become a common teaching in evangelical churches.
It is not acceptable – especially for women- to admit that you don’t have your Christian act together in some churches, particularly for people in church leadership or as biblical counselors.
A few years ago I was told that “I should know better” and asked, “What is the matter with you?” because I was honest about my struggles, unhappiness, and discontent with my situation after my Mom had just died, and my husband and I had been living 555 miles apart for 6 months due to a job change!
The expectation was that I would slap on the Christian happy face and pretend I was content with my circumstances when I was not. Yes, I was praying, reading the Bible, and trusting God. But what no one wanted to see was the private hell, and the agony I lived with day after day. I lived with a constant level of frustration inside as I tried to accept my circumstances and reconcile myself to God.
Many people try to “suck it up” and move on with life by attempting to control their emotions and pretend that what is affecting them is not! It doesn’t work and I don’t believe God asks that of us either.
One only has to read the books of Job, Psalms, and Lamentations to know that our predecessors talked to God in the midst of their struggles. Sometimes their talking was moaning or groaning, and sometimes it was complaining to God about their lack of understanding as they suffered.
Even Jesus voiced His inner turmoil at the suffering He was about to undergo as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46).
Does this reveal a lack of contentment in our Lord? Hardly!
He was about to undergo the worst form of human suffering in the scourging and crucifixion, and knew that He would be separated from His Father for the first time in all of eternity when He bore our sins on the cross.
He was content with God’s will in his life in being our redeemer, but we see that he did not put on a stoic front, He was real with the Father, He was human as He asked if there was any other way to accomplish our
He knew there was no other way, and so He proceeded with the plan knowing that God was accomplishing His divine will in the midst of His suffering. He was content and accepted God’s will and trusted that the Father would be with Him as He suffered.
There is a great difference between lamentation and grumbling and complaining.
The difference is in the attitude of the heart.