Life can throw us some curveballs from time to time that shakes our contentment. It’s not always easy and comfortable. There will be seasons of ease and happy circumstances, but they won’t last forever. It is the nature of living in a fallen world.
However, as believers, we need not despair. Even if (and when) life gets hard, there is still incredible joy ahead. It is the joy of Christ Jesus that gets us through the moments of intense despair. It is the hope of everlasting life with Him that draws us forward, even as we must go through trial after trial. It is by finding contentment in the everlasting arms that we can and will make it to the end.
Called to Trust
Have you been there? Maybe you’re there now. Perhaps the state of the world with the coronavirus has you anxious and disheartened. Or maybe the uncertainty of what tomorrow will hold weighs you down with worry. But we are called to trust, to hold steadfast to our faith in God’s word at these times.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile’” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NIV).
This promise is what we can carry with us through all the ups and downs of life. This hope is what we can lock our hearts and eyes onto to help us make it through whatever comes our way.
If you think it’s much easier said than done, I understand. It’s easy to proclaim these truths when times are good. We never question contentment when everything is going our way. However, as soon as things start to unravel, we lose momentum. The volume gets turned down on God’s words that we previously proclaimed so full of faith, and we begin to turn to the voices of the world instead. The worldly messages tell us that we should wallow in self-pity and that our circumstances are unfair. They tell us that it’s okay to complain or lash out in fear. They tell us to doubt God and His goodness, tempting us to fall into despair. It is in moments such as these that we must remain steadfast.
How Do We Stay Committed?
How you ask? How do we stay committed? How can we hold onto our joy in the turbulent times, praising God for who He is? It begins with trust. We begin by believing God truly does know best. He is sovereign and always has been. He has been faithful through every season of our lives. So we start by placing our faith in the one true God who has never failed us nor forsaken us.
I’ve had many beautiful experiences where God showed up. He showed up when my third son was born prematurely at 1 pound 14 ounces. God brought us through this. As a young couple with very little, the mountain of debt for medical expenses was grueling, but we overcame. And, I will share that being the mom of three boys isn’t for the faint of heart. The accidents and falls due to the adventuresome nature of my sons were a bit harrowing at times. But God always showed up, and He continues to show up for us.
How about you? Where has God shown up lately? Speaking of harrowing times, our oldest son and his girlfriend were traveling in China when the coronavirus began to spread. God showed up. Thankfully they are both home after spending a few weeks in China bunkered down with friends and family. They are safe and well, and I am thankful for the many prayers lifted up for their protection. God is my foundation.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (NLT) reads, “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.”
We have no power against the Lord Almighty. God has the power, and through Him, all things are possible. It is in His strength that we are brought through the trials and turbulent times. Yes, hard times will strike, and nothing is certain in this life. But Jesus Christ is the bedrock foundation we can rest on and trust in through it all.
To stay content, we must accept what the Lord brings in full faith. We must reflect on His word and allow God’s Word to lead us to trust Him deeper. We must throw off any notion that we know better or could do better. In troubled times we must surrender all to Him in faith and trust.
Our Source of Contentment
The second secret to contentment is finding our joy in nothing but the Lord. It’s not His gifts, or the seasons of ease He brings us, that are our source of contentment. Our one and only source of contentment is God Himself!
Paul the apostle wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV).
Paul experienced extreme persecution and discomfort. He spent much of his adult life in appalling prison cells or dealing with people who wouldn’t accept his message. Yet, he had great joy in his circumstances. He was content. His joy didn’t ebb and flow with the conditions of his life but was steady because his joy was rooted in Christ. He knew that God was his source of strength, and he relied on God through it all. Paul found his deepest delight in the person of Jesus, which carried him through the darkest of days.
When Circumstance Steal Our Joy
Contentment is living joyfully, at peace with your situation. It is not always easy to embrace the difficulties of this life. At times, it can be downright challenging to accept our circumstances when dealing with adversity. I’ve been known to take flight, stand and fight, or freeze in times of difficulty. I have allowed my circumstances to overwhelm me and reacted in a way that was unhealthy for both me and those around me. And I allowed my circumstances to steal my joy. Have you been there? Are you there now?
You see, we believe it’s easier to attempt to take control of our life in hopes of making things better or fixing the problem. Running ahead of God and telling myself that “I’ve got this” or “you go, girl” sounds great. My thoughts (AKA mindset) are cheering me on motivating me to take charge and make it happen in my own strength. Yikes! That, my friend, is where I lose track of the straight and narrow and find myself crashing through the guardrails, careening over the side of the mountain. Why? Because God never asked me to take control (or run ahead). It was my own thoughts – and sometimes pride – that told me to make it happen.
We are Called to a Better Way
But, as followers of Christ, we are called to a better way. We are called to give all up for the cause of Christ and depend on Him. If I depend on my own strength in the troubled times, what is my testimony? If I am continually fighting my way through life’s battles, where is God? I am guilty of this. I run ahead of God. I get impatient and frustrated. I react out of fear or unfulfillment. But the reason I react doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I relinquish my needs to God. I surrender and trust God to work through me. To admit that I was disobedient breaks my heart.I don’t want to be known as the girl who made it happen. I want to be known as the chosen one. The girl who trusted in God to fight her battles, calm the storms, and part the waters. Click To Tweet
What about you? What do you want to be known for in this world today?
Today, in these uncertain times, it is my prayer that you rest in Him, the one true God. Trust His sovereignty and remain steadfast in His love because it is there that you will know pure joy, and it is there that you will find contentment and peace.
“I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.” John 14:27 (CEV)
For the next few weeks, I’m offering my 90-minute reflection calls at no charge. We can Skype, phone call, or use an online conference program. Whatever makes you more comfortable. I’m offering this in place of my monthly face-to-face meetups. There is a need, and I hear you. With this offer, we’ll spend our time working through your doubts, fears, or struggles. We’ll use God’s word and prayer to guide the conversation. The Reflection Call is to offer Biblical mentoring and guidance or coaching based on your needs. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll respond within 12 hours to schedule a time for us to meet. Peace to you.