One of the great dangers facing the Christian is disappointment. Life displeases us. Our lot becomes uncomfortable, our heart heavy, and our spirit grieved. If we aren't careful we will harden our hearts into the slow-burn anger of discouragement.

 I can't remember who he was quoting, but I once remember hearing Derek Thomas defining suffering in terms of either "getting what we don't want, or not getting what we do." Kind of sums it up well, doesn't it? Although we rarely self-consciously trace things back to their ultimate cause, God is the first cause of our every disappointment. The jurisdiction of Christ's Lordship doesn't stop at the boundary of the nice and the easy. 

The Spiritual minded man remembers this (Psalm 66:8-12; 42:7). The waves are His. Each billow overflowing our soul belongs to Him. He is the first cause of our every vexing circumstance. There is no kind way to say this, but in reality discontentment is rebellion. Viewed from this perspective, discouragement is the a sister sin of covetousness, part of the human heart's war with God, and His right to dispose of all our proposing (Psalm 2:1-3). It takes grace, stubborn and persistent, to teach a different perspective.

Last night, I couldn't sleep, we had two children in the bed. Wide awake, I got about around 2:30 and headed down stairs for a bit of reading, to let John Newton pastor my soul. As usual, he had much good to say. Not the least of which was this gem...

β€œIt is indeed natural to us to wish and to plan; and it is merciful in the Lord to disappoint our plans, and to cross our wishes. For we cannot be safe, much less happy, but in proportion as we are weaned from our own wills, and made simply desirous of being directed by his guidance. This truth (when we are enlightened by his word) is sufficiently familiar to the judgment; but we seldom learn to reduce it into practice, without being trained awhile in the school of disappointment.
— John Newton

How thankful I am for my insomnia and the lesson it taught me last night. Where is God training your soul in the school of disappointment?