The Secret of Contentment
Written by Tammy Walls
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” (Philippians 4:12b, NIV1984) Wow – that Apostle Paul sure sets the bar high, doesn’t he? I think I would be content, through and in Christ, regardless of what comes my way. But, would I, really? A year ago, when my marriage was in danger, was I content? Nope. But, did I cling to my Daddy in Heaven? Absolutely. Ten years ago, when my then 22 year old daughter was critically ill, could my emotional state have been classified as “content”? No way. Did I crawl up into God’s lap and hang on to Him for dear life, more frequently than usual? You’d better believe it!
It’s so easy to look for loopholes.
But, God! Paul was talking about being poor. And hungry. He doesn’t say anything about being content when your marriage is in shambles or when your sweet daughter is hospitalized for 63 days. Surely you don’t expect me to be content THEN, do You?
Of course, those justifications come spilling out of my sense of not quite measuring up. Feelings of being spiritually inadequate. Just in case I wasn’t up to par in the contentment area, I’m gonna convince God that, technically, it wasn’t a requirement in my particular situation. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12b, NIV1984). Grrrr….Paul. For real??
When I finally stop debating God and begin listening to Him, He fills me with His sweet reassurance. And, I reexamine those dark times, remembering the peace He placed in my heart. Is that only because He made everything all better, allowing my daughter (for the most part) to recover? And, because He brought healing to my marriage? I’m not sure. As with each of us, I continually ask Him not to take a loved one from me. Through any means. I watch, in awe, as two of my friends and co-workers continue in life after losing someone very, very close to each of them. And I wonder….what would I do? Could I be accepting and content if I lost my spouse or my child? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NIV1984) Yet, here I sit, saying “Please God, oh please never put me to the test. Take me Home before you ever decide one of my babies or my husband needs to come live with You in Heaven.”
I’m sure that’s human nature. And, I’m just as certain that Satan uses those doubts and fears in making me question the depth of my faith. Obviously, there is always room for improvement. Yet, Satan likes to make us feel as though we’re complete failures. And, so many times, we’re willing participants in his quest. What our Heavenly Father wants us to do is simply to trust Him. Trust Him with our spouses, children, and grandchildren. Trust Him with our own health. Trust Him with our homes and jobs and cars and bank accounts. When we arrive at that place, we find true contentment.