After several days of feeling melancholy, discontent, and in a generally “complainy” mood, I decided I needed something to help kick start me back into the joy and delight I know is daily available to me in Christ. So, I decided to listen to the audiobook One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, which invites the reader to see God’s extraordinary blessings in our ordinary life and to experience the life-giving joy and contentment found only in Him. It’s not a book I would recommend to everyone, as the language is poetic, exceedingly descriptive, and not something people with my “get to the point” style can sit through easily. But, I found even her long way of describing simple blessings forced me to slow down from my hurry, see God’s beauty and goodness in the simple and the hard, and to find joy in thanksgiving. Ann’s story helped change my perspective, and I’m grateful for that.
One thing she reminded me of is since the creation of man, we’ve struggled with a discontentment, a questioning, a lack of trust in God’s goodness. Is what God gives really best? Adam and Eve had everything--every need met and every joy of a face-to-face friendship with God realized. They walked with him, talked to him, and experienced no harm, hurt, or sorrow that might cause them to question His goodness. Yet, a whisper of something more, something better, began to overshadow their gratitude for His great gifts. It was that familiar whisper we all hear that breeds discontentment, tells us God is withholding his best, and makes us doubt His goodness. The whisper grew loud, and Adam and Eve believed the lie and ate the apple to gain “something better.”
Daily, I do the same. I question the goodness of my Father and fail to give gratitude for His abundant gifts. I believe the lie that I know a better way to write the story. I take hold of the things He encourages me not to—distrusting when He says they will drain life from me and believing instead there might be greater life to be had than He has given. But, what I find when I do this is exactly what God says I’ll find, death (Genesis 3:3). Outside His good boundaries, boundaries placed to bring abundant life and full joy to His children, there is indeed something more but not something better. There is toil, strife, discontentment, a dry and weary land where there is no water, and a life lived ever clamoring for something better but never feeling satisfied.
Lord, thank you for using this book to again remind me of Your goodness and to produce in me a spirit of joy and thankfulness as a sure antidote for discontentment. Continue to help me see the great gift of the boundaries you have given. Help me remember, “if You did not spare Your own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will You not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Even when the road seems hard and the journey long, help me to trust “you will guide me continually and satisfy my desire in scorched places and make my bones strong; and I shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11). In you alone is true contentment found! Amen.
By Katie Miller
For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE