10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I 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. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
In this letter to the Philippians, Paul writes that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances he was in. He spent much time in prison, but even from prison he continued to work for God.
How often we are not content with our own circumstances. I think about how often the Israelites grumbled and complained to God, and I realize that we are no different.
The Israelites even complained about the manna God sent them from Heaven so they would not starve in the wilderness.
I realize that I do my own share of whining to God, just because I think that things shouldn't be this way, because like the Israelites who tired of eating manna every day for forty years, I get tired of living paycheck to paycheck and struggling financially.
But I have realized something, my situation is the consequences of bad financial choices in the past, just as the Israelites choices resulted in them wandering in the wilderness for forty years, a whole generation never able to enter into the Promised Land.
For a long time I prayed for God to rescue us from this mess, maybe I expected some kind of major miracle, like a big fat check to suddenly arrive in the mail. I wanted it handed to me, as if I deserved it.
But sometimes God wants us to learn from our mistakes and He doesn't answer the way we want Him too.
Hubby said something a while back about this, he said that we made this mess and God wants us to work to get out of it.
In the above passage it also says 'I can do everything through Him who gives me strength'.
This tells me that even if I have to work to fix this mess, He will sustain me. When I feel weak, like I just can't go on one more day, He is there, holding me up and lending me His strength.
Yesterday I had a bad moment, and I ended up crying in the car and crying out to God, 'I give up, Lord! I just can't do it anymore!'
But when I think about it, really think about it, I realize that things could be worse, have been worse and the pile of bills is slowly getting smaller.
There are others in way worse situations than I am in. Yes, I am late on my mortgage, but there are others who don't have a home to live in. My daughter needs to see the eye doctor and get new contacts but there are others who are blind. I need a new heating system in my house, but my house is warm with the portable heaters and there are people who freeze to death. I may not always have a lot of food, but there are others who have no food at all. I can't afford to buy new clothes, but there are others wearing rags. I lay in bed at night and wake frequently from the pain from arthritis, but there are people who have worse pain than mine. I sometimes get angry with my husband, but there are others who are totally alone. I miss my family, but others don't have families to miss. I am not happy with my job, but so many others are unemployed.
I need to be thankful for the blessings I do have because in so many ways I am richer than many others. Not just financially but in family, in friends, in my church, spiritually and physically. I have my health, my abilities, and my talents. And most importantly, I have God, my Father who loves me and cares for me even when I don't deserve it.
I need to be content.
Lord, help me to be content.
Friday, January 11, 2008