2008-06-28 - The Last Forty Winks
Jeremiah 31:26, "At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me."
In Whitecross's Anecdotes, there is the story of an Indian, who was floating down a river heading toward Niagara Falls in a canoe. He was fast asleep. There were some people on the bank, and from the shore they shouted and cried out to him while running along the shoreline. It was no use. His sleep was apparently very profound. The people on shore did the best they could to wake the poor man, but it was no use. The canoe floated along and continued to increase in speed as it approached the falls. At last it dashed against a torrent of water and spun around. The people thought that surely this man would be awakened, and he would paddle out of danger. But no, he continued right on downstream toward the falls, still fast asleep. The people could not keep up with the speed of the boat as it approached the roar of the great falls. For a while, not even the noise of the falls awakened the man, but at last he did wake up. He grasped his paddle, but it was too late. Over he went, and the last that was seen was him standing upright in the boat as it plunged over the falls - never to be seen again.
Contentment is a good thing. Of course, our story of the Indian who ventured over Niagara is a metaphor on the kind of contentment we don't wish to have. We don't wish to be asleep or content with our sin. We should desire to be ever paddling against sin, as I am sure that Indian paddled for his life when he awoke, just before taking his last plunge. We can never be content with our sin- and even the least sin, when we become aware of it, must be rooted out. The Puritans identified three great hindrances toward godliness (and they were right). These three, which we must never be content with are, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life. Let us reflect a little upon our sins, even our secret sins, and I have little doubt, with a little honesty, we will find that they all fall into this wise breakdown of hindrances to godliness. With these we must never be content. We must never gratify these indulgences of our habit of sin. How often has our conscience let us know when we have given in? How often have our treats into sin been found to end up acidic when they finally set with us?
There is a form of contentment that we should seek. Unlike the Indian sleeping on the way over the falls, our Christian contentment of joy, submission, and patience within the loving providence of our Lord is a hallmark of godliness. This means contentment with all things we have from God. I will take just the one example of "change." We are so prone to desire change, rather than to be content with God's care and provision in what we have by His grace. Lets pose a question: Are you sure that the change you desire will lead to greater happiness - greater contentment? Changes often lead to discontentment - and prove to be worse than what we previously knew. The uneasiness we do know is often better than the thing we seek but do not know. We ought never seek contentment outside the will of our Lord. Wisdom would tell us, if she could speak, that our true happiness, satisfaction, and place of pleasant days is always found when we are firmly grounded within the bonds of God's perfect will as it is revealed in His precious Word. This is the place of contentment.
Soli Deo Gloria,