How many of us can honestly say we are content?
And if you do indeed feel content, and your circumstances change for the worse, can you still be content?
I’m not referring to being able to cheer up when you get down.I’m not talking about feeling good at the present moment.I’m certainly not talking about living in the moment. I’m speaking of a inner peace and certainty that all will be for His best, even if it isn’t necessarily what you would have chosen as your own personal best.
We’ve all had an idealistic daydream at one point or another: having that perfect American dream house or car, early retirement, perfect children who don’t make messes, tell lies or tell you no, or perhaps even perfect health. But the fact is that we live in a fallen, poverty stricken, greed ridden, filthy world.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15, ESV
You can’t have it all- not in this life. And God designed it perfectly that way. Far too often I find people teaching God’s word with the “health and wealth” mentality. I’m not sure where this line of logic originated. Maybe from the temporal-minded sudo-reality that everything has it’s own natural consequences? Yes, if you touch a hot stove your hand will burn and it will hurt.
But what about your next door neighbor (we’ll call him Phil) who just got laid off from his job- that job that he worked harder than any other for- the one he’s been hard at work in for the past decade? Better yet, how about his family whose livelihood and whole world turned suddenly upside-down because of a corporate decision? Did Phil just get too close to the stove and get burned? Maybe, but he must have gotten pretty close for his children to get burned, too. Maybe there was something we don’t know about that was between him and God that he is reaping the consequences from, but then again, maybe he is a modern-day Job. Remember, Job was God’s chosen vessel, an elect among elects. God gave Satan permission to take away all his riches, children, and wealth. God gave Job the honor of proving his faithfulness in this life.
I’m not saying that we are meant to meander through and not take anything from our tribulations; I think we can and should glean life-lessons from The Most High given any situation, positive or negative. Maybe God is allowing those things to happen to him as a blessing for the betterment of His Kingdom. How could such a horrible circumstance be viewed as a blessing?
“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. ” James1:12, HCSB
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil referred to in Genisis 2 and 3? One of the things that I find so fascinating about it is that our Creator knew that if we were to truly understand good, there had to be an opposite. The bad is put here on this earth- in this short chapter of our existence- to wake us up to how good our Father in Heaven really is. If our reality is to have the good life for our whole life, how could we ever honestly be thankful for it?
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genisis 3:5 NASB
I’ve been in tough circumstances on and off throughout my life. Ones that weren’t in my picture-perfect daydreams. Ones that have caused me to look to the Heavens and cry out asking, “WHY?!” or even, “What have I done to cause this kind of pain?” I’ve had way harder emotional and spiritual battles, but speaking from a strictly physical sense, most of my struggles were not as challenging as what I am going through right now.
So what’s the difference? I have learned over the years to be content with what I have. I have learned to see everything that passes as a part of His purpose and plan for me. I know that ultimately, and temporally, I am in the best of hands!
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12, ESV
It is my hope and prayer today that those in similar situations can let go of the earthly in every sense and know that the suffering that comes in this life is a blessing, not a curse. It is a ray of hope, not a shadow of darkness, because it doesn’t matter what kind of a dark hole we find ourselves in, we have the lamp of Christ shining within each of us!
I can finally rest on and be content with that. Can you?
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