I was nineteen when my daddy died. But I remember that he used to say, “Either we’re walking through a trial, we just got out of a trial, or a trial is on the horizon.” I think he was right. (Hi. Welcome to my uplifting blog.)
We all have situations that we wish were different. But even in the midst of this crazy, earthly reality, there’s an amazing thing that can happen. It’s called contentment. Contentment accepts the now — even in all the mess — while running forward with future hope.
Running. By faith.
My mama recently began her journey through chemo. (I know. It’s *blech*.) But I’ve seen contentment blossom in her. A contentment with the now that cannot be explained apart from her God. In fact I called her yesterday to ask and she said, “He already knew this would happen. And He’s promised to carry me. I choose to rest there.”
Paul says in Philippians that he’s learned the secret to contentment, regardless of his circumstance.
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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
And he meant all things.
He meant every good thing as well as every excruciating thing like being beaten to near death eight times or shipwrecked three times or hungry or sleepless. (just to name a few; 2 Corinthians 11:24-27) In alllllll these things he learned how to move through them with contentment.
To be content means “to be mentally or emotionally satisfied with the now”. It means that even when Paul’s enemies beat him, God proved to be sufficient. Paul didn’t *need* more. He found complete satisfaction in the strength of His Lord. But he did so with the future hope of glory at the forefront of his mind. He kept running forward, invigorated with hope.
There’s a contentment to be experienced in Christ and it’s apart from life’s happenings. It’s apart from how much stuff we have and apart from relationships. It’s apart from disease and apart from dreams fulfilled. But it isn’t free.
It’s learned through the trudging along in life’s valleys. It’s learned when life strips everything away and God proves to be enough. Or as a friend describes in the depths of her own valley, “Contentment doesn’t equal happiness. Contentment means I choose to believe God despite the raw hurt in my heart.”
The world will watch, confounded at the peace we can have through the strength of our Savior. But we will rejoice, contented with the now yet hopeful for the future.
Fill me, Lord…
How have you experienced contentment through the mire of trial?
How would you encourage those who yearn for contentment?