Part of this scripture popped up in my Facebook memories this morning, and it couldn’t have resurfaced at a better time. It’s funny how God knew that 27 year old Sabrina would need this reminder from 22 year old Sabrina. She would need to be reminded that contentment can be found in all of life’s circumstances, because in all of life’s circumstances there is Christ. And because of him who strengthens us, we can be content.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:11-13
I don’t know about you, but I find myself always looking forward to the next season of life, thinking “that’s when I’ll be happy” or “that’s when life will feel complete”. Instead of being fully present in this season, I wait in great anticipation of seasons to come. With my focus often on the future, I struggle to be content where I am.
I think we can learn a lot from Paul and the wisdom he’s sharing here with the Philippians. In verse 11 he says, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Let’s all just pause for a second to remember that Paul is thought to have been writing this from prison. Anyone else find that at least a little ironic?
Paul goes on to reveal his “secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” – and it’s Jesus. In his very literal suffering, he points to Jesus as his source of contentment. (Here I am failing, at times, to be content with our new house because it’s not completely furnished yet, and Paul is like “I’m content in my prison cell because JESUS.” Y’all. )
I think it’s safe to assume your suffering doesn’t quite look like Paul’s. But maybe you’re like me, struggling to balance the excitement and anticipation of things to come with living fully present in whatever season of life you find yourself. Or maybe you’re in a really hard and trying season, and it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel has yet to even become a faint flicker of hope.
Wherever you find yourself, let’s take a moment to reflect on where we see Christ at work.
Where do we see him comforting us?
Where do we see him stretching and growing our faith?
Where do we see him bringing joy into our lives?
May we find contentment here. In this place of searching for God and finding that he is always faithfully at work in us, no matter our season of life.