Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Scripture to Meditate on This Week

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. Philippians 4:11-13

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Content: [kuhn-tent']  satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.

That's one dictionary's definition. Is it what Paul was writing about? Well, I think that the first part of the definition about being satisfied works. But the second part needs a little work.

Though life was filled with lots of ups and downs for Paul, he learned how to be content, how to be satisfied with what was happening. How do we do that when life is hard, when we have been 'brought low' or are in 'need'? The first thing is to acknowledge that it is possible to be content in those situations. (Not everyone thinks this way.) And we can be content if we are persuaded that the God who runs this universe, the God who proven His tender care for us, knows what He is doing with our lives, even when life stinks. What helps is knowing that He is using whatever difficulty we face for the spread of the Gospel and the re-establishment of His kingdom. What also helps - and this touches on the second part of that definition - is that we will get 'more' and 'anything else'. It won't be in this life, but we will enjoy this 'more' that we are wanting and missing now.

Being content in this culture is really hard. Everything yells at us not to be content. But, by the power of the Spirit and our own hard work, we can learn to be content, just like Paul did. There will certainly be tears when life hurts - and prayers of deep emotional lament to God - but we can learn to be content, to trust the Father with our heartfelt desires.

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