Content in All Things
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
As I rounded the corner on my bicycle, I noticed the bank clock said 25 degrees. I muttered under my breath, angry that it was 6:15am, and I was running late, and angry that this was my one form of transportation. 14 years ago I was, for the first time (but not the last), living near the poverty line, eating rice and beans, living in a shack in the woods, and riding a bicycle everywhere. I steadied into a pace and looked to the left. The sun wasn’t rising, but it was glowing behind the clouds. They lit up, an odd gold glow I’d never seen before. Maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the exhaustion, it doesn’t matter. I was suddenly struck, almost moved to tears, and I realized that I’d have never seen that view in a car — I’d have never paid attention. All through the day I thought more and more about that experience. It changed my life and the way I viewed everything. My situation could be worse, and it could be better, but it didn’t matter. I was, in my life, just as in that moment on that morning, right where God wanted me to be.
Paul knew this and understood this. He wrote a letter of encouragement to the church of Philippi while under incarceration, and yet he wrote the words, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” I’ve heard many a pastor say that meant he wasn’t content with his situation but *in* his situation. And while that may be true, I think Paul wasn’t big on inventing contrasts and imagining how lucky he was because, “Hey, it could be worse!” I think he considered whatever situation he was in to be a blessing, as that was the one that his Lord had placed him in for God’s glory.
This week I encourage you to not invent contrasts. Don’t think about how our life could be better or worse. Instead, examine your situation and pray through it. Make sure that you are where God wants you to be. And then, in all things be content. Not because it could be better, or it could be worse, but because God is going to use you exactly where He has placed you.