I’m excited to announce today’s release of my book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway). It’s my hope and prayer that this book will help people to better understand and learn contentment.
There is a story behind every book. The story for this book was painfully sweet and stitched to my soul. A couple of years ago I was enduring a particularly difficult season. It seemed as though God had allowed affliction to hover like a rain cloud over my life. Pastoral ministry was especially trying even as I encountered a number of new health problems. This, along with the regular stiff headwind of living in a fallen world, had me weary.
But I was more than weary. I was restless. And, upon further review, I was discontent. In God’s providence I was preaching through the book of Hebrews at the time. The thick, dark rain clouds of affliction cast a shadow over my studies and even, I regret, some of my preaching. Looking back, I am reminded of William Cowper’s hymn “God Moves in Mysterious Ways.” He writes:
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take!
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
in blessings on your head;
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face
One day as I opened my Bible to study, the cloud burst with blessings on my head. I read chapter 13 of Hebrews:
“. . . be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6)
Through these verses God began to remind me afresh that despite anything I can (and must) be content in God. He, not my circumstances, is the source of my contentment. Furthermore, my contentment will be fed by God’s Word.
This led to me scribbling down questions, thoughts, confessions, and fresh discoveries of grace. Over the next several weeks I would marinate in this text and the subject of contentment. I would preach, write, and talk with members of our congregation. God was teaching us about contentment. He was teaching us about who he is and how our contentment ultimately is in him. Indeed, behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face. Seeing this face, through the eyes of faith, creates and sustains contentment.
This book explains what contentment is and several ways to learn it. It is pivotal to understand that contentment is anchored in the God who is content in himself. What better gift can God give to hungry hurting people like us than himself? He welcomes us to his banquet hall to find our souls satisfied in him. Contentment is the abiding amen of our joy. But we need to know more than what contentment is; we need to know how to learn it and practice it. In Phil. 4:11 Paul remarks that he learned how to be content. How then do we learn this? In the second half of the book I lay out some practical ways that we can learn to be content.
Over the course of time of writing this book I am thankful that God answered prayers to help make me content in him. As you might expect, he did this by means of various trials. I had the privilege of applying what I was writing to my life in real time. I also applied what I was living to what I was writing. In other words, we don’t graduate from the school of contentment; we’re career students. Whether you are writing or reading a book on the subject, God will faithfully and graciously provide areas where you can learn contentment. We are all continually chasing contentment even as we know something about it and what its footprints look like in our lives. I pray that this book serves to further your study at the school of contentment.
Here are some of the endorsements:
Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com
“Erik Raymond is one of my favorite writers. Discontentment is one of my deepest struggles. What a joy, then, to have this author speak wisely, biblically, and pastorally about the value, the importance, and the pursuit of contentment. If you struggle as I do, you’ll find help and hope in the pages of this book and, ultimately, in the Book of books it points to.”
“Contentment may not be as elusive as we think it is. Erik Raymond’s enthusiasm in explaining the biblical text regarding contentment really shines in this book. Whether you’ve been wearied by trying to squeeze contentment out of the world or you’re happy right where you are, Chasing Contentment will refresh your perspective as you marvel at the sovereign joy of Jesus.”
Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Founder, Practical Shepherding; Senior Fellow, Church Revitalization Center, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“For decades, when asked for a book recommendation on Christian contentment, I always had to reference books by Puritans like Burroughs and Watson. I knew of no solid modern book on the matter—until now. Erik Raymond’s Chasing Contentment is that modern work I have longed to see and use. This book contains the wisdom and insights of the timeless Puritan works, yet brings a culturally relevant pastoral sensitivity that will make this the go-to book on this subject—thoroughly biblical, immensely practical. I highly commend this book and the faithful man who wrote it.”
“Too often our search for contentment leads us to sources unable to bear the weight of our desires. We trust in money, relationships, and circumstances, only to find ourselves increasingly dissatisfied. This book helps to clarify our understanding of contentment, as well as redirect our hopes to the One who is able to provide lasting joy. Raymond combines wisdom from church fathers with modern insights and examples that make this book readable, applicable, and needed.”
Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots
“Just about every day, I wake up and read Erik Raymond’s insights on pastoral ministry, discipleship, and everyday living as a Christian. He always challenges me to love Jesus as I trust in the sufficiency of his work on the cross. As someone who struggles with contentment, I need his wise counsel to walk with Christ in freedom and joy.”
Chasing Contentment is available wherever books are sold. If you do happen to read it, consider leaving a review on Amazon or sending me some feedback. I’d love to hear what you think.