Monday, October 04, 2010

Rotting Bones

A year ago we were excitedly awaiting our fourth child. We loved working in missions in Cambodia. We loved the community we lived in, the school we worked at, the mission team we served with. We treasured our home there, perfect for our needs. Daily life stretched us in many ways but we were thankful for the reality of reliance on Christ each day.  It was a blessing to see the Lord's hand affirming our work and family in so many ways. It was a very blessed time in our life.

Much of our life changed. We moved back to the US for medical care. Darryl is jobless. We live with my parents. It's a life now very "inward" focused--instead of focusing on the community around us most of our resources are focused on caring for our dear little boy. Sometimes it all seems a bit surreal.  

And I haven't dealt with it well all the time.  I start looking around me and feel a complaint rising up to God, "Couldn't you at least provide a job...a home...don't we have enough to deal with?" I've seen this, this envy, in myself and it's disgusting. horrid. ugly. It dishonors the Lord. It rots my bones. 

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, 
but envy makes the bones rot.  
Proverbs 14:30

We envy in small ways too. A friend buys a new house (nicer than yours), you say, "That's great, I'm so happy for you." But as you pull into your driveway suddenly your home seems small and tired. Your friend shows up looking stylish with cute clothes. The next time you pass the mirror you look at your clothes and sigh, so old and frumpy, and your's hopeless!

It's endless, isn't it? We compare personalities, marriages, education, careers, prestige, salaries and always find we are "missing" what we "need" to make us happy. This is the nature of envy, it is relentless. It crops up in our hearts and brings all sorts of friends to the pity party; discontent, bitterness, insecurity, coveting, and ultimately anger at God.  

Augustine rightly said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord." It's in Christ that our heart is satisfied. It's in His sufficiency that our hearts are satiated. This is the antithesis of envy.

I love the first part of the verse, a tranquil heart, a heart that has no room for envy. A heart that is full of peace from Christ is a heart that brings life to the flesh. Beautiful isn't it? It breathes contentment. I want this heart. I am tired of my bones rotting and creaking. I am tired of  pushing off the quiet joy in Christ of this day in hopes that better things will come tomorrow. It leaves me in a spiritual wasteland.

I am a dying, condemned wretch,
but in Christ I am reconciled and live;
that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest,
but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace.
-from Contentment in Valley of Vision.


Kate said...

That verse is a great one. It's one of those proverbs that not only tell you what NOT to do, but tell you what to replace the bad habit with in order for a healthier, happier perspective on life. Comparing sure is a poison, isn't it? Thanks for sharing. Like I said last week: you have to keep blogging!

Christy said...

Love that quote at the bottom. Amazing and wonderful truth.

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Thanks Kara. You're blogs so often provide food for thought and beautiful reminders of what we have in Christ. Even here in Cambodia it is easy to "envy". Envy the folk who have cars (when it's raining - the rest of the time the moto is faster). Envy those who have bigger houses, more money, more friends, family close at hand, cable TV, and the list could continue. But that's when I have to take stock of the things I do have - a clean house, with plenty of space (even if it is smaller than the last one), a reliable helper who takes care of so many "essentials", friends, family, skype, internet, a cool dry bed (airconditioning), etc. - and compare it with those people who live down the road in a roadside shanty, that's smaller than my bedroom, with a roof that quite probably leaks, living day to day. What right do I have to complain? I praise God that He loves me anyway, even when I forget to be grateful for all the things He has given me, and the people He has surrounded me with, throughout the world.
Thanks Kara