“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him [Jesus] who gives me strength.”
~Philippians 4:12b-13 (NIV).
I know people who’ve founded the very basis of their faith, when they’ve hit hard times, on these very words. They mean so much.
What exactly does it mean to be satisfied and content in any circumstance? Well, first we have to recognise that Paul learned this. He didn’t live like this from the beginning. He witnessed his expressed faith materialise into peace that transcends human understanding.
This is Spiritual peace that’s only available in God the Father and through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And it is no secret, really, though it appears to be, given that a vast many never come to know it, let alone understand it and take advantage of its overwhelming benefit of wellbeing. This very peace that underpins the contentedness is so richly and truthfully founded that the harder things get, truly with this mindset of faith, the more victorious in Christ one feels.
This is a very difficult thing for many people to comprehend. It’s a life that cares so much it cares (for itself) no longer. And that is faith. A love invested into trust so much it gives itself away readily.
For us to be contented when we’re hurried, worried, stressed or depressed seems a little difficult to fathom. Of course, we can’t instantly feel contented (or can we?). Contentment is a gradual process of resting in the light of God’s delivered promises day after day, year in, year out.
But, this contentment is also available in the moment we need it provided we draw our strength from our resurrected Sovereign, Jesus of Nazareth. Our strength is in our weakness—the very personal standpoint of Paul in the Corinthian letters, especially of the letters we have left, 2 Corinthians.
The best thing we can do is simply engage in trusting God in all our circumstances. All else commences from there. The river that is contentment is the flowing body of water that takes us open-minded and open-hearted, relaxed and surrendered as it were, into God’s peace and his continual, daily redemption.
Knowing contentment is possible in all circumstances is often enough for us to simply believe it’s true, and to therefore be willing to chase it down. The beauty is, God’s keen to prove it; and he will given the slightest chance.
Only one time will you need to see the vast good in the horrible bad—through the Holy Spirit—and he will do it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.