We will close out chapter one today (p10-12). Burroughs goal in this section will be to show us that true Christian contentment aims to take charge in every condition. We see this in three regards.
- Submitting to God in whatever kind of affliction befalls us. Everyone says that they should be content in every circumstance. But "there is a great deal of deceit in general statements". We like to say that we are content always but there are certain things that we have a more difficult time bearing. Some who are stricken in their marriage would wish that God had taken their finances. Others who are stricken in their finances wish that God would have taken their health. Those who are of ill health might wish God had struck them in another place. "But we must not be our own carvers." True Christian contentment should, "be not only to any condition in general, but for the kind of the affliction, including that which most crosses you."
- Submitting to God regardless of the time and continuance of the affliction. "We must not be our own disposers for the time of deliverance any more than for the kind and way of deliverance". Even if this be a soul-affliction. Even if it appears that God has withdrawn his face from us and we must travail for years, we must seek him all the more. Burroughs then gives the example of Noah and Ezekiel who had to wait upon God before coming out of their difficult mission. "We should not be willing to come out till he comes and fetches us out".
- Submitting to God regardless of the changes in our condition. It is very rarely that one affliction comes alone; commonly afflictions are not single things, but they come upon the neck of another". In other words when it rains it pours. It is more difficult when one affliction follows another, nevertheless, we must persevere in our contentment.
Burroughs has been showing us today that we must be content regardless of the circumstance. I am reminded of prisoner Paul in the book of Philippians who appears to be quite content and even joyful. His reason? It appears to be his passionate love for Jesus that sustains him. "Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead". In other words Jesus is such a precious treasure that I consider everything as nothing compared to him. If Christ is not our treasure then we will not learn Christian contentment.