This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional, if following the Daily Office index, comes from Addie Chapin. The devotion for today’s date comes from Aaron Zimmerman, which we’ve posted before, here.

But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ (Genesis 3:4-5, NRSV)

At a recent rehearsal dinner, the father of the groom related his interpretation of this passage: “We all know there’s a difference between naked and nekkid, don’t we? Naked means you don’t have any clothes on. Nekkid means you don’t have any clothes on and you’re up to something.”

681_DF_box_348x490_originalThose of us in the wedding party got a good laugh, pretending not to remember any time when that adjective might have been true for any of us. Surely it’s not one of those “You had to be there” stories, because we have been there. This father’s toast—to a long marriage of mutual, unashamed vulnerability, with one another and with God—was not only refreshingly genuine and to-the-point, but also it recalled those nekkid times of discontent, the kind of discontent Genesis presents here in Adam and Eve’s predicament. Like ours, it is a predicament stemming first from the experience of having something withheld.

To have something withheld, or at least to be convinced that there is something being withheld, is one of the biggest impediments to trust and one of the most prodigious sowers of discontent. (Cite the prodigal son’s older brother for an easy example. Also cite any fifteen-year-old denied their iPhone and a later curfew.) This is the seed sown in the Garden. In these situations the “offended” becomes wholeheartedly convinced that the withholders are, once again, trying to ruin their lives.

Of course, the gut-level discontentment often goes deeper: when prayers for a good doctor’s report, a better marriage, a breakthrough, a break are left unanswered. You fill in the blank: “Why wouldn’t God want me to have (blank) right now?” The gamut runs on forever.

For sure, inasmuch as contentment is a blessing from the hand of God, so too is discontentment. Occasionally, our discontentment leaves us on our knees, praying less for what we want, and more for peace with whatever we’ve been given. Our wants put aside, we are left trusting that God gives us what we need. And when we reach for it and are left unsatisfied, looking for our proverbial fig leaf, we can trust in the unwavering grace of our Father.

In a sermon on the 23rd Psalm, Frederick Buechner says, “Maybe ‘I shall not want’ means that, whatever else is withheld, the shepherd never withholds himself, and he is what we want more than anything else.” In not getting what we want, the Lord is our Shepherd still.