“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Phil 4:11 ESV
We start learning contentment as growing babes who cry and whine when both our needs and our wants don’t get met. The more life God grants us, the more refining trials get and the more we must learn the lessons of contentment. The purpose of His birthing a soul into new life in Christ is to bring Him glory, not earthly prosperity. He sees beyond our temporal cravings and gifts His children with unending pleasures in Him. The joy that burst froth is pure and rich fruit that naturally springs from the Spirit’s birth within the believer. True joy from the Spirit is not based on our ever-changing circumstance. It is as steadfast as the character of God because it is from Him that it’s sustained and kept alive. “True contentment comes only from God, enables believers to be satisfied and at ease in the midst of any problem.” (John MacArthur)
It was a dark stormy day. I was driving from home to church thinking through my husband’s puzzling diagnosis. The doctor didn’t really seem sure. Could it be possible? The best case scenario was that it was an awful mistake. The worst-case scenario was death within five months. It meant losing my beloved, the father of my boys and my best friend. We had many unrealized hopes and dreams of the future for our family and the church. The most terrifying for me personally was the reality of becoming a single mom for the second time. Those days had been the most agonizing ones of my life as of yet and at the same time the most blessed.
The memory of its blessedness, helped me have a proper perspective. Merriam-Webster defines blessed as bringing contentment. While grief and discontentment are different, dealing with grief in a Christ-centered way cultivates contentment. The grief is still painful and to some degree will always be there. However, it will also forever be a sweet reminder of God’s incomprehensible love and faithfulness. “In grief, you run to the Lord for comfort, protection, and healing, trusting that He is and good and will work even this affliction to the benefit your soul and for His glory. A godly grief looks for its duties in the midst of the trouble, pressing on.” (Learning Contentment, Nancy Wilson) The immediate duties that propelled me to swim despite the powerful waves were our children and church. I continue to make strides in a sea of unknowns, and strain to set my ambition toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. In all of this, I give thanks to God for His grace and strength that enables us in weakness to soar with wings like eagles to display His splendor.
Heavenly Father, you are all-wise and always good. Thank you for the most precious blessing in your Son’s atonement for our sins. Forgive us for our insatiable appetites for earthly things above the satisfying heavenly ones. Please fully align our desires with yours. Lord, grant us the filling of your Spirit to overflow our cup with joy no matter what we face in this short life. In Jesus’ name.