Contented Contending


You know what I think of sometimes when I look at a cow standing in a pasture?  ‘How can a warm blooded mammal with a brain, pound for pound, about the same size as mine, possibly be content just standing and staring at the fence all day just waiting for the rancher to show up with a load of hay?’ Just the life of livestock in general—as long as they know where their next meal is coming from or their bellies are full and they feel relatively safe in their little never changing world- they are content,  ‘Just let me chew my cud and fling some slobber at my flies and life is good.’ 


Sure horses can get a little restless, but sheep, pigs,  cattle, chickens- they don’t care ‘just throw me some corn and my life is complete.’  Simple yet satisfying, and in the stress of life some days we might tempted to say, gee I wish I had it so rough!” But it’s actually kind of scary to even think about being that way—a mindless chunk of meat living to fill our belly—thank God we were created much differently than that, well, most of us anyway.


We are certainly a different creature and I’ll take my ADD, OCD, co-dependent, border line manic depression riddled life of adventure any day over a life of sedentary blissful ignorance.  But it can get to be a bit much sometimes, being the amazing creatures we are, created with all the attributes of our amazingly complex God, tucked away in us to varying degrees. We have the potential to drive ourselves to total despair as we feel stuck in this world where the whole universe seems to be on a mission to frustrate our every move and thwart our every plan.  Maybe it is—but we have something better—we have the Holy Spirit of the Living God to keep us from imploding, I’ll take that over a cud to chew any day.

Give ear to my prayer, O God,
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and hear me;
I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily, Psalm 55:1-2

There is a restlessness within the human soul that is common to all of us.  That restlessness can be amplified by certain conditions and stirred in different seasons.  Knowing what to do with that restlessness and finding the peace that can quench that restlessness when nothing else can, is the quandary many of us find ourselves in. There is a healthy, needed, restlessness that drives us to action, drives us to our knees in prayer, when you know deep inside that something has to give, something needs to be done, but you do not know or are afraid to find out what that is.


Listen carefully to this; the only way you are going to get past that feeling of restless confusion and anxiety—the only way you are going to know what it is you are supposed to do—is to come to the Lord, fall on your face, either literally or figuratively, and cry out ‘Lord help!  I can’t do this alone I need you to tell me, to show me what to do.’— and he will.

Remember that contented cow? That cow is a happy cow, not just because she is simple minded and clueless, but also because she trusts that she will get taken care of, that the rancher will show up—just as he always does at just the right time—to feed, that there will be water in the tank and the grass will grow in the spring. She also knows that when the rancher calls it’s because he has just put out cake or it’s time to go to a greener pasture. She is content because she knows that the rancher is there to take care of her, not to make her life miserable. I use to call my cows—whooo-bosss! —and they would come running, because they knew that I never called them to do harm to them, that something good was in store.

Why can’t we trust our Shepherd like that?

Main Point: Contentment comes from listening and believing; believing that the Lord hears what you are contending for and knowing what to contend for because you were listening.


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