In the early years of our marriage we lived in an apartment (the downstairs of an old house) that was cozy enough when it was just for the two of us. But when we became three and then four, it started to lose its charm for me. In fact, I grew mighty weary of that place. We kept looking for another place, but nothing turned up that would be an actual improvement. And the longer we looked, the more grumbly I got about our little spot.
I won’t list off the problems with that place here. Trust me. It was not a very convenient house for us, and I wasn’t making things up. But I remember well one day having a conversation with my husband where I was listing my woes about our apartment. And I well remember what he told me in response. He said that God would not provide a new place for us until I was at the point where I would be sad to leave our old place. Yikes! You’ve got to be kidding! That will never happen! But he kindly pointed out that God moves us from strength to strength. If we are in defeat over a situation, God wants us to get the victory in it and over it before He moves us on to the next one.
That was a turning point for me. I started doing intentional things to improve my attitude. And some time later when we moved out, I didn’t shed a tear, but I was no longer under the power of discontent. By God’s grace I had gotten out from under that.
We often think that if we could change our circumstances, then we would be content. But that takes the power out of our hands because we can seldom change our circumstances. But we can change our attitude, which provides comfort and peace in uncomfortable circumstances.
Contentment comes by subtraction, not by addition (as Burroughs would say). We get our desires down to our circumstances and we find contentment. And then we are in a position of strength to do our duties that God has laid out for us to do.