|Thou shalt not covet... Exodus 20:17|
I suppose I rarely really covet, instead it would be more proper to call the emotion a "strong desire". Coveting in its' real meaning would indicate I want what my neighbor has to the extent I'd be happy if they did not have it. I do not want my neighbor to do without hot water so I can have theirs.
The true danger comes in when we covet (or strongly desire) what another person has to the extent we become dissatisfied with our own life and that is a constant temptation. We are all finite and limited so we all have aspects of our life we would prefer not having to deal with. Not to mention those blessings we wish were part of our every day living.
When we blame God for what He has allowed in our life, then we are saying we don't trust Him. At the same time, when we become bitter and upset for those gifts He has not given us then we are telling Him we believe He has made a mistake... we obviously know better than God what should be ours at this moment in space and time.
St. Paul told us he had learned to be content in all things. It didn't come naturally even to that great man of faith. I have different levels of discontent. For instance, you would think living without hot water for laundry and showers and dish washing would drive me over the edge (not to mention lack of electricity in parts of our home and fried electronics).
But I have learned to trust God in the big stuff, those areas where it is beyond my ability to do anything about... right now I am trusting Him for the rest of the funds needed for the deductible. I know in His perfect time it will all be available.
However, the day-to-day living can be the hardest I find to hand over to God. For each day brings unexpected challenges. We all have a cross to bear and I have come to realize I would not be able to exchange my challenges for those of another. He gives the grace needed for that which He allows in each life.
I always ask myself... when feeling the stress of a particular day is too much to handle... if I have had to feel the stripes of a jailer on my back or spent days upon days upon days in the isolation unit of a prison for my faith. Compared to what my brothers and sisters in the Faith endure in other countries... my own challenges are not all that difficult.
He has given the desires of my heart over the years, sometimes His timing was not what I expected... as when Christopher was born when his sister was soon turning twelve. I remember feeling as if there was someone missing from the dinner table before he was born so I should not have been surprised when I found I was expecting again. He was such a hyperactive little guy and quite the handful but now that we have gone through the growing up years... God's timing was perfect. I just didn't realize it at the time.
When we lay aside coveting and take our requests to Him... if what we desire is His will and in His time... then instead of holding onto covetous demands and becoming bitter when we do not get what we want... we allow Him to surprise us with answers to those desires. The Book reminds us that if mortal man gives good gifts to his children, how much more God (who IS love) gives to us. We live imperfect lives in and amongst imperfect people... and no one more imperfect than ummm... Moi'.
Only One who walked upon the sod was perfect. He allowed Himself to go to the Cross as a young man of thirty-three. He could have had anything He desired. He could have demanded thousands of thousands of angels to save Him as His own creation spat at him and pulled his beard and pushed a crown of thorns upon His head and beat him into a bloody pulp and nailed spikes into His body and hung Him on a cross to give up the body he had put on to walk this planet.
The One who could ask for anything... asked for me... and you. We are His treasure. We... who stomp our feet and fret and complain at what we have and complain at what we do not have but want and complain that life is just too hard at times. He still wants us. How could we covet anything else... even our neighbor's hot water?