Currents of Discontent

       Every morning Sharilyn and I read our Bibles together—we're still in Isaiah—then we pray for the day ahead before I head out for the office. And always we pray with thankful hearts for you, dear faithful OT! What a treasure this dear House of God is to us. 

Then in the evening, I read her a chapter from a book. TV is out for us: ever since HDTV came out, blasting the living with some kind of particle stream, Sharilyn has not been able to tolerate it. 

What a loss, huh? Don't grieve for us! Sharilyn had actually been unable to tolerate the content for years. We do miss some of it though, of course. The sweet things. 

But right now our evenings are devoted to chapters from Robinson Crusoe. After I'd mentioned it in a sermon not long ago, Sharilyn said: "You need to read that to me." "Okay." 

I've been surprised at her delight in it. Now she says things like: "Oh, good! We're not even halfway through yet!" And  "don't read too much tonight. I want it to last."  

It is a wonderful thing. Defoe was a fine Puritan Christian and Jesus Christ is exalted by Name on so many of its pages! Having the old N.C. Wyeth Illustrated edition makes it an even more beautiful experience. 

What's the big deal? Well, let's take Chapter 15 for instance. That's where we left off last night.

For years now, this man has lived his days in utter, hopeless solitude on his tiny deserted island. Often he has lamented it. Many times he has cried out to God for deliverance. Oh, yes, he's done well with his little cave of a dwelling in the cleft of a cliff. He's learned to make pottery and weave baskets and raise wild goats and his crops of barley and rice are coming regularly now. 

But still he is gripped with despair and desolation. He daily bewails his case before the Lord, now that his sufferings have led him to the Lord. (That's chapter 10). 

In chapter 15, "In the sixth year of my reign—or captivity—however you wish to put it", Crusoe develops a longing to fully explore his "kingdom". He devotes months and months to the construction of a hollow-trunk canoe, with the hopes of paddling his way completely around the circumference of the island. 

At last, when it is finished, he launches it and sets out.  But as he gets to the northern tip of the island, a powerful current seizes the little craft and starts to send him out to sea. 

He cannot paddle against it. Instead he struggles to cross the point, over to the east side of the island, hoping for calmer water there, but there's an even more violent current racing up the eastern coast. And now the two currents are joining together to double their power. Poor Crusoe is in danger of being swept away forever!  Now listen to what he says about that...

"There was no other shore, no mainland or island for a thousand leagues at least...and now I looked back upon my desolate, solitary island as the most pleasant place in the world and all the happiness my heart could wish for was simply to be there again. I stretched out my hand to it with eager wishes: 'Oh, happy desert,' said I, 'I shall never see thee again!' 'Oh, miserable creature,' said I, 'where am I going?' Then I reproached myself for my unthankful temper and for how often I had repined at my solitary condition; and now what would I give to be on shore there again?"

I love how he concludes all this: "Thus we never see the true state of our condition until it is illustrated to us by its contraries; nor do we know  how to value what we now enjoy, until we experience the want of it." 

I love that chapter! 

Do you mind if I ask: are you content? Our Scriptures remind us that that is a treasure! "For godliness with contentment is great gain," we read in 1 Tim 6: 16.  We are so wisely warned in the Book of Hebrews to: 

"Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have, for He Himself has told you 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Heb 13:5

Do you know what I see going on in our country right now? Raging currents of discontent, more powerful than those on Robinson's Island, and threatening to sweep us away from all that God's given us! How shocking to see it, almost everywhere we look. 

You be the exception, dear faithful follower of the Cross! Be known for this priceless quality of the Christian: contentment. Don't just be thankful because it's a Thanksgiving Day rule. Be genuinely thankful! And be at peace with all that God has given you. Like Paul, remember? 

"For I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content."  Phil 4:11

I'm trying to pause in the midst of every hectic day, and take an inventory of my 'island' and all that God has given me. I strongly suggest you do the same, before the currents sweep us away!   

I love worshipping with you every week! 

See you Sunday                                          RAS

 

(Oh, yes, what finally happened to our man in the canoe? Don't be lazy!)

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