Are you contented? Seriously, fully contented? If you are anything like me, you are looking for ways to pay your bills, juggle your schedule and satisfy eveyone within your sphere of influence. Those are normal struggles, though. It’s life in general–happens to everyone, whether or not they are Christians. However, sometimes those valleys of struggles can throw you in a tailspin of anxiety. I don’t feel very contented then. Yet contentment’s schoolhouse rests in the center of those valleys.
I’m one of those people who wants to fix everything for everyone. I want everyone to be happy. No friction. How foolish of me. When I am in one of those flurries to help another out of their ditch, relieve another of their responsibilities, I may be robbing them of their opportunity to grow in Christ, to develop character that only Christ can develop. Paul had to learn contentment. He suffered far more than I’ll ever suffer–shipwrecks, floggings, and even imprisonment for sharing the gospel. He learned to lean on Jesus. He wrote:
“…for I have learned how to be content in whatever state I am.” Philippians 4:11b
We each have wants, desires, and battles. We each face trials and what seems impossible situations. My burdens may be heavier, or lighter, than yours today. I am learning more and more that it’s not my responsibility to fix anyone but myself. I am reminded of that fact quite often. I see my grandchildren struggling with events in their lives and want to remove their burdens. It’s normal to want to protect them. But I believe wants me to learn to be content in the fact that He has a purpose for some of those difficulties.
As Christians we are not exempt from difficulty. In fact, we better than anyone should recognize our trials as stepping stones to virtue. We grow from our trials–faith is increased, patience is developed. Contentment is learned. Contentment is overwhelming peace that life is okay–just as it is. That God is in control–all the time. That the world will continue to turn without a push or shove from me. Do you have that contentment? To find contentment, we must be willing to learn. Are you willing?
PRAYER: Lord, help us learn to trust You in our trials of discontent. Show us how available You are to us. Keep us ever mindful of Your presence in the midst of difficulty. Let us be joyful, like Your servant, Paul, in learning to be content with and without.