What does contentment look like?
For me, it’s always brief, and always changing.
When I was a kid it looked like a day where my brother wasn’t teasing me and we went to the park, or where my parents were off my case and upped my allowance. As I got older it looked like As on all my finals the day before summer vacation, or a day where my husband took the kids out and I took a nap, or a day of getting all the chores and errands done early, and the kids are getting along. Contentment always looks different, but the result of it is always the same: a big relief. Sigh.
Contentment is fleeting; something always messes it up. The world interrupts in the form of a phone call with distressing news, a forgotten task that needs to be attended to immediately, or an argument that comes from nowhere. When this happens I grasp at the threads of my contented sigh as they float away and dissolve into the atmosphere.
I hate that.
A while ago I read a book about Heaven. In the book it describes Heaven as a place that contains all the characteristics of the world we have today, the beauty and goodness enhanced and the pain and ugliness gone. And then some. We all have our own versions of what Heaven looks like. We will have complete contentment. Contentment with our work, activities, conversations, relationships – this is what characterizes our life in Heaven.
My daughter talks about Heaven a lot. She is a sensitive soul who craves contentment. She worries about nearly everything that could shatter her current level of comfort.
She gets this from me.
She worries that Heaven will be so different that she won’t know anyone, and life, however wonderful, will be foreign. She worries that she might not like it. She worries that Heaven is forever, and living a forever life that she knows nothing about is unappealing to her. She worries that Heaven will be boring.
I tell her about the Heaven that God promises, that everything will be perfect, that he will make sure we don’t get bored, and that every day will be an opportunity for us to discover something new, that we can’t imagine what God has in store for us. We have to trust that God will do what he says. I tell her that I’m not afraid of being bored in Heaven. I assure her that she will not be scared, that she will not be alone.
I know she is not content with these answers.
The truth is that our contentment on earth looks nothing like our contentment in Heaven. We try to think about what perfect contentment looks like, but we will never approach it. I believe that God gives us glimpses of what it feels like here on earth, but we won’t know until we get there. I believe that he has contentment planned for us that is beyond my imagination.
I believe when we get there, we will each let out a huge sigh, and nothing will ever take it away.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. Revelation 21:1 (NLT)