Infants Are Easily Discontented

Infants are easily discontented. They cry when hungry, they cry when tired, they cry when uncomfortable, they cry when afraid. It often seems they cry for no reason at all! Toddlers are perhaps a little better, but they are still quick to fuss and complain, still quick to express every little sorrow and every minor dissatisfaction. It is only age and maturity that eventually allows children to endure discomfort without whining, tantrums, and hysterics.

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If all of this wasn’t bad enough, children also fuss and protest when their parents correct their behavior—even behavior that might harm or kill them. Many a child has screamed and protested when their parents have scooped them into their arms just before they toddled into traffic or plunged into a pool. The Bible simply states what’s patently obvious when it insists “folly is bound up in the heart of a child.”

It’s not for nothing that the Bible describes Christians as children. We enter the Christian life as spiritual infants who act the part. We are immature and unformed. Like children, we are quick to grumble when we encounter difficult circumstances, quick to murmur when providence fails to grant what we desire. We may not quite demand that we be carried to heaven on Isaac Watt’s “flowery beds of ease,” but we may still gripe and moan when called to face a foe, to bear a cross, or to endure a thorn.

But time brings maturity. This maturity comes about in a few different ways. It comes as we gain a greater knowledge of the character and purposes of God and, with it, a deeper trust in him, a greater confidence in the kindness of his heart and the decrees of his providence.

This maturity comes about as our lives become increasingly bound up in Christ’s. We find that we long to be used by him, even at great cost to our own comfort. Just as Jesus had food to eat that his disciples knew nothing about—which is to say, just as Jesus found satisfaction in doing the will of God—so too for us. We gladly do without what we might otherwise desire in order to serve and please the Lord.

And then this maturity comes about by an increasing nearness to heaven through which our sights are ever-more set on paradise and the joys that await us there. We understand that the longer our lives continue, the less time we have to bear the pain, the fewer the years we are called to bear our sorrows before we finally release them forever. Weights that feel so heavy when we look down begin to feel light as we look ahead and see heaven’s gates ready to receive us, ready to welcome us in. We know we are almost home.

So, as we press on in the Christian life, as we advance from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity, we find joyfulness increasing even when our comforts are decreasing. We find ourselves cheerful in trials, content in persecution, submissive even when we meet with sore disappointment. Things that may have seriously disturbed us in former days are powerless to derail or severely distress us in our later days. God gives us a contentment that is beyond this world, beyond our very selves—a contentment that causes our hearts to soar far above our circumstances and to remain at peace.

Pray, then, that God would help you grow from milk to meat, from infancy to maturity. Pray that you would know God’s loving heart toward you, that your life would become ever more bound up in Christ’s, that you would set your eyes on things above. Pray that you would learn to endure even the sorest trials with trust in God’s character, with faith in God’s purposes, and with joy that all things are from him, through him, to him, and for him. To him be the glory.