MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 24th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator J.C. Derrick now with some thoughts on contentment.
J.C. DERRICK, COMMENTATOR: I started covering sports for my local paper at age 18, but I didn’t enter college until I was 24. Even with a few years of journalism experience, I knew I had more to learn. And yet, I still saw college mostly as a necessary step to earn a credential. I just needed to hurry up and get on with it. You know, get to real life.
It was around the start of my junior year that I had an epiphany. This is real life, I realized. Constantly looking forward to post-college life was robbing me of embracing and enjoying what God had put in my path right then.
And it got me thinking. I’d actually done this repeatedly in my life. I perpetually looked past my current stage.
And maybe you can relate. When you’re in middle school, you can’t wait until you get to high school. Then you can’t wait to get to college. Then you can’t wait to get out of college.
Then you can’t wait to get that promotion—and get that debt paid off. Can’t wait to get married. Can’t wait to have kids. Can’t wait till the kids are out of diapers. Can’t wait till these kids are through the teenage years.
Then I’ll be able to relax and enjoy life.
But it’s all a lie. If you can’t rest in God’s providence and provision now, you won’t be able to later.
This tendency we have reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 10. The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy.
It’s not that hope for better days is wrong, but when it veers into discontent—as it often does—that’s when we run into trouble. Life never leaves us short on reasons to complain.
But the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian church: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I don’t know if Paul ever experienced a pandemic, but I can’t think of a verse more appropriate for these strange times. Trying to work with three small children at home? Some days I think I’m going crazy. It’s natural for all of us to pray for God’s mercy and look forward to better days.
But just you wait. On the other side of this pandemic, we’ll all be more aware of its benefits, whether it’s the extra time with family, convenience of remote work, less hectic schedule—or something we don’t even fully see right now. And we will wistfully look back.
See, that’s the thing: discontentment runs both ways. As life progresses, we look back on the good ole’ days—childhood, college, or those carefree single years. Remember when the kids were little? Boy, what I wouldn’t give to go back to that stage.
The author of Ecclesiastes said for everything there is a season. Each one is valuable. What a shame if we only recognize it in hindsight.
I’m J.C. Derrick.