A Serpent’s Tooth in A Lamb’s Mouth


I am not a big fan of William Shakespeare’s works (so sorry to disappoint!), but some years ago I was struck by a line from King Lear. The line occurs as Lear is praying down a curse upon a woman to be childless or if she must bear a child that the child would grow to be the source of unbearable sorrow. It is his desire that the cursed woman would learn the painful lesson, “…how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” Imagine loving and providing for a child every day only to find sullen silence or grumbling complaint. A grievous discontent that you had not given enough or given the right things. That the room was too small, the clothing out of style, the meals, though abundant not good enough for them. How the ingratitude would grieve the heart of any mother!

Imagine now being the recipient of the loving and tender care of an Almighty God. To be daily surrounded with innumerable benefits. Imagine, moreover, that the blessings that you enjoy go beyond the manifold provisions and safety and the enjoyment of friends and family and love and laughter and music. Imagine that you have been delivered from the guilt and burden and consequences of your sins! Imagine, if you will that, in union with Jesus Christ, you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places! If you are a Christian you do not have imagine any of this. It is your life! What would you expect to be the general daily disposition of the one who is such a debtor to mercy? Joy? Thankfulness? Contentment? Trust? Of course! But is it the case with you? Has the sharpness of the serpent’s tooth made its way into your mouth? Have you found yourself wondering in your life what you have to be thankful for? Have you found the distresses and disappointments of daily life looming so large that they overwhelm the felt knowledge of God’s goodness to you? If ever there is to be imbalance in our lives, if ever there is to be a choice in regard to what our minds will dwell upon, if we will choose that which will overwhelm all other things–let is be the blessings of God in our lives. May we live in the light of them that a thankful song will be our companion all the days of our lives.



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