“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Consider your current circumstances for a moment. Is this a season of joy? Grief? Envy? Or true contentedness?
As Paul wrote to the Philippians, in verses 4:11-13, contentment is something to be learned and practiced. It is not natural to us. It requires that we unlearn being mastered by our circumstances:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Learning contentment during times of plenty is a good start, but it’s not enough. It won’t protect us from discontentment during not-so-great times…we will not be satisfied, always hungering for more.
Dissatisfaction adds to our worries and concerns. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had everything they could want. So remember their downfall—“plenty” can fan the flames of discontentment. We run the risk of valuing the gifts over the Giver.
So how do we embrace contentedness? Psalm 131, a short prayer from King David, gives us “word picture” of contentment. He enters into the presence of God with complete humility…no pretense or pride…like a little boy.
“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).
This image of a satisfied child cradled in a mother’s arms is akin to crawling into the lap of our heavenly Father and taking comfort in His love. It shows our inward attitude…a calm, still soul.
But the weaning process can be distressing to child and mother. It’s a process of loss—a great mystery. When what seemed indispensable is lost, what is left is a new dependency on God. It means finding ease with what God puts in our lives.
Is there a place for grief in contentment? Of course. God is compassionate. He doesn’t tell us to “buck up” and get over it. Jesus has walked on this earth and has felt the hurts of the flesh. He knows our pain.
Jesus Christ was a Man of Sorrows, well acquainted with grief. Ungodly grief is hard and bitter, and it cannot accept comfort from others. But godly grief opens up our hearts to God and to the body of fellowship here on earth for comfort. We must learn to turn our faces to God, when the road is rough and hard, surrendering completely to His will.
Take heart, friends, even in the midst of despair. Remember that God is good. And He is sovereign. God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).”
We are not there yet on our journey of life, but we have hope…that God is working in us, for us and for His own glory. He is the God who teaches us true contentment. May you find great peace this week in resting in His lap.
O God of all comfort—Strengthen our faith this week, that we might have peace with You in Jesus Christ, through Whom also we have access by faith into His grace. Help us to rejoice in hope of seeing Your glory. Help us also to glory in trials, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. We know that hope does not disappoint, because Your love has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit You have given to us. Call us to true contentment in You. In Your Son’s precious name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.