Just a Few Musings on Contentment...
Do we ever find contentment down here?
~When you're a child, you can't wait to be a "grown up". Then, you grow up and
miss the days when life was simple and care free with no bills.
~When you're single, you long for the day to be married. Then, you get married
and realize it's hard work, and encourage everyone not to rush and to
"enjoy your freedom."
~When you get your new job, you can't wait to start. Then, after a while, you're
working for the weekend, hitting the snooze button, and dreading Mondays.
~When you want a new look, you can't wait to cut your hair and get a new style.
Then you cut it and say, "I miss my long hair."
~When it's blistering cold outside, you can't wait for it to get warm. Then, on the
first 90 degree day, you're completely over summer.
~When you need a getaway, you want to take a vacation so bad. Then, you finally
take one and get homesick and realize, "there's no place like home."
~When you have baby fever, you want a kid so bad. Then, before you know it,
they're heading off to college and you're wondering where the time went.
~When you could really go for a nap. Then, you finally take one and realize that
you'll be up all night.
I think you get the point. I'm just thinking about the cycles of life and if we ever truly reach contentment. Life is filled with all of these "whens" and "thens". We think that a new situation or change will make us happy, only to discover that it can't really sustain us. Contentment is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction. Most of us can say that we have had moments, or even seasons, of happiness and satisfaction. However, a critical part of that definition is the word "state." State is defined as the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.
The type of contentment I'm imagining is not only for a moment. What I am asking about is sustaining contentment. My question asks if we ever find contentment down here. By "here," I mean here in the earth, during this experience that we call life.
Paul said something very interesting in his letter to the church at Philippi:
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer
need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Paul said that he has learned to be content. How did he learn that? Who taught it to him? Did he learn it when he was in prison for preaching the gospel? Did he learn it when he was literally shipwrecked? Did he learn it when he was bitten by a snake and shook it off? Did he learn it when he had to withstand Peter to the face?
The more I reflect on Paul's life and his arrival at contentment, the more I realize that contentment is truly a supernatural state of being. There was very little about Paul's natural circumstances that should have led him to be happy or satisfied. I believe that we find contentment when we are seated with Christ Jesus in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). It's only there where we are able to have a Godly perspective to rest in the "good" or "bad" situations of life. It's the only place where the elements of our circumstances cannot sway us one way or another.
The scripture says that all things work for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). I believe resting in this promise is where we find true contentment. I'm still in the process of learning contentment. I pray that I can get to a place where contentment can be my state of being in any situation. I am convinced, though, that there is no contentment down here without Christ, and I believe God designed it that way on purpose. He does not want us getting too comfortable down here because if you are a believer, then you are just passing through and this is not your home. We have something greater to look forward to, a place that Christ is preparing for us (John 14:2). I believe that contentment is found in that blessed hope. It's not only the promise that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the comfort of light being with you even inside of the tunnel. Let us learn to be content.