Okay, so I have lived in my apartment for twenty-seven months. At the two-year mark, I began to wish I could find a new place with a bit more room and a lot more light. Nine months being somewhat isolated due to Covid had begun to wear on me. “It isn’t time yet,” I told myself, and then thought of the practical reasons why I should wait. Also, I remembered Paul’s words in Philippians: “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.” I prayed and asked God to give me peace and a willingness to wait – He did. I settled back into contentment.
Contentment and change
A couple of months later my daughter texted me to say the guest cottage of a friend had become available. About 250 sq. ft. larger than my apartment with ample interior light, a generous fenced yard, and within my budget. A place to be outdoors! A cottage nestled among trees on three acres and suitable for a small dog (high on my wish list 🤍). We went together to meet our friend and look at the cottage. It was agreed within the hour I would be the new tenant. Then in conversation as we stood on the front lawn, the three of us realized and acknowledged how the Lord had orchestrated all the circumstances. God’s grace.
Have you had similar experiences where you accepted your less than preferable lot and then to your delight, God arranged to bless you with a desire of your heart? As I look back over my life, I see a pattern of yearning, waiting, struggling, learning, and submitting to God’s will, to finally arrive at the threshold of acceptance and step into contentment. It is at this point God is apt to change things for us, right? It happens without any awareness or expectation on our part, we are surprised by the joy of God’s blessing.
Contentment is not natural in ourselves
Charles Spurgeon, an eighteenth-century preacher, said that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. We are more prone to covetousness, discontent, and murmuring. And, of course, in our natural selves this is true. I catch myself mumbling under my breath now and then, a disparaging remark about something in my life (or myself) I wish I could change.
Spurgeon points out that Paul says, “I have learned… to be content.” It is a process, this learning to lean on and trust in God for whatever is best for our lives.
No doubt he (Paul) sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man… C.H. Spurgeon
Do you ever wish that when you learn something like how to achieve contentment it could be…
- For once and all time?
- You would have it down?
- You are equipped to avoid the struggle next time?
Me too. Receive a dose of encouragement from Spurgeon’s quote, even Paul struggled to be content. He lived the learning of contentment throughout his life. As do we.
How to inspire contentment in your life
If you don’t already, I encourage you to begin a tracking God journal and to keep a record of answered prayer and the times you actively see God in your circumstances. You will find inspiration in opening pages of your own handwriting to see a record of all the ways God has seen you and heard you, met your needs, answered your prayers for others, and surprised you by altering a circumstance you longed to change. All on His own, without any help from you! I love how God shows up.
We may daily learn to be content as we wait on Him, our Father who knows the time and the place of what is best for us.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11
May God bless you with His peace,
P.S. Sometimes our prayer is for healing of a relationship, or to ask God to spare the life of a loved one, or to be relieved of severe depression. God sees you and hears you in every circumstance, no matter how small or how seemingly insurmountable. The same principle of contentment applies. We can trust Him while we wait.