Yesterday, I had a rather graphic and gruesome reminder about contentment. As I worked on dinner, I noticed the dogs next door were barking, but this was not their usual type of bark. Something was definitely different about it, and when the barking continued for several minutes, I decided I'd better go out and investigate.
The two dogs were standing with arched backs, barking at our fence. I looked around and saw nothing in our yard that would cause such a frenzy, so studying their behavior more closely, I realized that their attention was on the ground just in front of the fence. My first thought was that there was a snake. It wouldn't be the first time. But I was terrified of one of the dogs getting injured, so I went near the fence to see if maybe I could distract whatever was causing them such grief. That's when I heard the noise. It was definitely not a snake. Nope, it was a groundhog. And it was trapped.
I ran into the house to get Jason to see if, between the two of us, we could manage to distract the dogs long enough to allow the groundhog to escape. It sounded like a good idea, but the dogs were intent on their prey, and despite our calling and clapping, they continued to bark at the cornered animal. Finally, the inevitable happened, and I found myself having to run back inside so as not to witness the carnage. Yes, the dogs had a new chew toy, and within moments, the groundhog lay dead in the middle of the yard. Poor thing! (I told you it was gruesome.)
Here's the crazy part. After a few minutes, both dogs began barking again. I looked out the window to see what was going on, and they both stood around the deceased rodent. I was pretty sure the creature was dead. Jason had even confirmed it, but the dogs continued to bark. It was as if the entire ordeal had been a big game to them, and now that the groundhog wasn't playing anymore, they were upset.
Isn't that the way with desires? We think we want something, but then once we get it, we realize it wasn't all we thought it would be. The joy and satisfaction of achieving the prize are short-lived, and suddenly, we're reaching for the next thing to satisfy. Never content. Always wanting more. Never seeming to remember that when we have Jesus, we have all we'll ever need.
I hate that it took such a horrid event to remind me that I need to be on guard for discontentment, but I'm glad that God loves me enough to teach me, even when the lessons are painful. Discontentment is a sin, and instead of searching for the "next thing," we need to be thankful for all the blessings we have. It would do us a world of good.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to attend a funeral. . . for a groundhog.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. - Philippians 4:11