On Contentment

“Why does it have to be like this, that…” “Why doesn’t my wife…” “How come we have to…” “Why can’t our family…” “Why is it that our pastor doesn’t…” “Why can’t I…” “Why can’t you…” “Why can’t they…”

These are a few ways some folks express their discontent – folks like…me! I have growing to do in this area too, like many of you. May these thoughts be helpful!

When we get to the point where we are just not content with our circumstances, we feel it, and so do others. We’re irritable, cranky, down, or even depressed. Things are not the way we want. People are not the way we’d like. And we don’t know how to change it. Well, when we get to that point, what needs to change is not the circumstances.

It’s winter now. Like it or not, that’s the season we’re in. So it’s cold out – least as I write this it is. It’s like 6 degrees! Warm would be nice. But it’s ice. The weather is what it is.

Well, just like the seasons and the weather, God in His sovereignty brings about seasons of life and circumstances which man is completely unable to change. That’s by design. God’s plan is not to change circumstances so much as to change hearts. And ours need to learn to rest in Him, and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, to be content.

“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am,” wrote the apostle Paul. He wasn’t lying. He was speaking truth, which the Lord, by His Spirit, gave him to write for us. From his words we see that it’s possible to learn to be content in any circumstance. If we find that we aren’t, then we see we need to grow up. We need to mature in Christ.

In our times of discontentment, when we’re not content with ourselves or those around us or the circumstances or the season of life we’re in, when we feel upset or irritable or down or downright depressed, we can take great comfort in knowing God is showing us something very important, and for our own good! He’s opening our eyes to see we haven’t learned yet what others more mature in the faith have – how to be content in any circumstances.

Wouldn’t that be nice! “Godliness with contentment is great gain!” Well God helps us see our need to grow. And then what can we do? Go to Him for help! Pray fervently, in faith, according to His will, that He change not the circumstances but our hearts.

“Lord, I can see now, I haven’t yet learned to be content! I praise you for showing me where I need to grow. Thank you, God, for humbling me! Lord, help me! Help me learn, like your servant says, to be content in whatever circumstances I am! Change me, Lord, for Your glory, and for the sake of the gospel! Make me a joyful witness to Your power and grace in every circumstance! Work in me! Help me grow up! I have this confidence in You, that if I ask anything according to Your will, You hear me, and I have the petitions I’ve asked of You! Thank you, Lord! I am rejoicing already in You! I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me! In His name I pray, Amen”