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Learning Contentment

I actually wrote this last week. Reminded me how great God’s timing is–after a migraine (me) and puking (my daughter) yesterday, I needed to hear it today!

In Bible study this week the question was posed, “If you could have God change anything in your life, what would it be?” So what about you? What would you change? Stop and think for just a moment. I bet something popped right into your mind when I asked that.

Of course, my mind began running in tight circles round circumstances—broken relationships, a broken body, friends in trouble, various daily stressors—and then I was brought once more to the realization that my circumstances don’t need to change. Bet I shocked you there. My circumstances don’t need to change. Yes, some of them are uncomfortable or downright heartbreaking. Yes, they’re a reflection of life in a broken world and it’s right and good that I long for and pray for something better—for God’s redemption, for Christ’s return. And yes, I wholeheartedly believe (and have seen) that God gives us a foretaste of the perfect by redeeming bits and pieces in the midst of brokenness.

However, these are the circumstances God has put me in. They’re not some haphazard collection of things that just happened to me; they are the perfect life learning lab for me. I need these circumstances to grow. God’s promised that He works everything out for the good of those who love Him. I’m His child. I love Him, therefore, He’s working them out for my good.

But still, who isn’t worn out by the difficulties of life in a broken world? The more I thought about it, I realized that I want new circumstances, not because I just like change or because new is always better. I want what I think will be better because I believe better circumstances will automatically bring contentment and happiness.

But contentment isn’t about circumstances, it’s about character. I started wondering how hard circumstances would be if I actually loved each person in my life with God’s love. Would it really be that hard not to lose my temper at the guy who cuts me off in traffic or at my crazy kids? I imagine even a dash of real love would significantly change my perspective and my response to this lab.

In the end, once I’d sorted that out, I found myself praying for a supernatural change in my character, a Holy Spirit outflow of love, faith, and humility… for the fruit of the Spirit.

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