the summer of our discontent

Richard:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

(Shakespeare: Richard The Third, Act 1, scene 1, 1–4)

While I appreciate those who are, I am no fan of 16th century English Literature. My grammar and writing skills got me through college Lit classes. I can however, identify with Richard in his hope for a brighter future. He is hopeful that the crowning of his brother, Edward IV as King will bring about better days for his family. The well-known quote from this piece is often misused. The phrase, “The winter of our discontent” is not meant to stand alone. His “winter” has turned into glorious “summer”. This is actually a positive statement.

I am in a “summer of discontent” of sorts. While it is not yet summer, the next few seasons for us are bringing many opportunities to see glorious things take place. These things will not happen unless I experience a season of discontent now. When properly utilized, discontentment can be one of the greatest motivators know to humankind. When we are discontent to the point of discomfort, we act. I am uncomfortable and I am getting ready to act.

Please don’t think that I am unhappy. Discontentment is not mere unhappiness. I would categorize my discontentment more as “unrest”. I see issues that need to be addressed and problems that need solving. I live in a community that I consider to be a mission field. I am watching too many people muddle their way through their mundane lives while Christ offers abundant and exciting adventures to them. Around the world, there are hungry kids who need to be fed and communities that need churches. The pain of people troubles me enough to get involved. I am discontent enough to try to do something about it. This is the summer of my discontent.

I am hoping that, by winter, I will be in a season of contentment. The plans are to engage ministry on some new levels. There are some new projects that are breathing down my neck and I am anticipating some solid progress within the next six months. That being said, I realize that there will be another level of discontentment that I will face, just around the corner. That’s one of the ways God keeps me motivated – He allows me to encounter new issues, new causes and new passions.

For anyone who wants to confront me with Philippians 4:11-12, I Timothy 6:8 and Hebrews 13:5, save it. A cursory reading of these verses will show you that the writers are addressing our need to be fulfilled in Christ. I get that. My issue is, Christ won’t let me be comfortable where I am – He wants me to be discontent enough and passionate enough to actually do something that makes a difference.

I like my summer of discontent.

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