Currently I’m reading Jeremiah Burroughs work “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” and it is quickly becoming my favourite.
“There is more treasure in the poorest body’s house, if he is godly, than in the house of the greatest man in the world, who has his fine hangings and finely-wrought beds and chairs and couches and cupboards of plate and the like. Whatever he has, he has not so much treasure in it as there is in the house of the poorest righteous soul.”
A contented heart looks to God’s disposal, and submits to God’s disposal, that is, he sees the wisdom of God in everything. In his submission he sees his sovereignty, but what makes him take pleasure is God’s wisdom. The Lord knows how to order things better than I. The Lord sees further than I do; I only see things at present but the Lord sees a great while from now. And how do I know but that had it not been for this affliction, I should have been undone. I know that the love of God may as well stand with an afflicted condition as with a prosperous condition. There are reasonings of this kind in a contented spirit, submitting to the disposal of God.
“We are usually apt to think that any condition is better than that condition in which God has placed us. Now, this is not contentment; it should be not only to any condition in general, but for the kind of affliction, including that which most crosses you. God, it may be, strikes you in your child. – ’Oh, if it had been in my possessions’ you say, ‘I would be content!’ Perhaps he strikes you in your marriage. ‘Oh,’ you say, ‘I would rather have been stricken in my ‘health.’ And if he had struck you in your health – ’Oh, then, if it had been in my trading, I would not have cared.’ But we must not be our own carvers.
Whatever particular afflictions God may place us in, we must be content in them. There must be a submission to God in every affliction, as to the time and continuance of the affliction . ‘Perhaps I could submit and be content’, says someone, ‘but this affliction has been on me a long time, three months, a year, many years, and I do not know how to yield and submit to it, my patience is worn out and broken.’ I may even be a spiritual affliction – you could submit to God, you say, in any outward affliction, but not in a soulaffliction.
Or if it were the withdrawing of God’s face – ’Yet if this had been but for a little time I could submit; but to seek God for so long and still he does not appear, Oh how shall I bear this?’ We must not be our own disposers for the time of deliverance any more than for the kind and way of deliverance.”