“I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11,13
Bill Gates is worth 130 Billion dollars (that’s with a B), has three children, seemingly no wants, but is discontent; he is not satisfied with his wife and life partner of 27 years. You could say he is in the summer of his years, has everything a person could possibly want, yet is very much dissatisfied; the summer of his discontent!
John Steinbeck wrote the famous novel titled “The Winter of our Discontent” taking it from the first lines of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” Perhaps winter represents the expected time of difficulties and discontentment in life. In this novel it represents struggling with the disappointment of a passed glory that with tough circumstances has overcome.
Apparently, with more money than practically anyone in the world, Bill Gates cannot find satisfaction. But he can break his most serious vow before a Holy God when losing his contentment in the “summer” of his life.
July 8! We are certainly in summer, at least in our northern hemisphere. Vacations, picnics, hikes, warmth, swimming, boating, sunbathing, shorts as normal attire. This season represents a period of time in life that can be considered vacation, rest and relaxation, enjoying the fruits of your labor.
How does discontentment take root in your life at a time like this? At least till winter arrives; the season of aches and pains, decreasing health, restrictions of travel, mobility, a cane your constant companion. In the winter of life discontentment has much more reason to be.
Unfortunately, being discontent is really not seasonal. The young men of the Paul Anderson Youth Home, 16-21 years old, arrive here with great dissatisfaction in their lives. “Summer, Spring, Winter, or Fall, all you have to do is call,” and discontentment comes running.
Unfortunately, in most lives circumstances are the primary culprits to your being unsatisfied. They disturb your peace. They present a motive for depression. They attack your sense of well-being. Circumstances rule the feelings of most human beings in all seasons of life.
This dependence on circumstances being the “raison d’etre” for your satisfaction or dissatisfaction exposes a wrong understanding of the God revealed in Scripture. Studying the revelation of the Triune God in His Word and in His magnificent creation you ought to come to more accurate conclusions concerning who God really is.
He is omnipotent, all-powerful. He has decreed all things that come to be. He is the God of Providence. He actually creates your circumstances. Any and all circumstances that impact your life are all according to His perfect will. It defines God as Sovereign.
Does He then truly intend your good? The Bible reveals He does good and is good to all His children in Jesus. But we do not always believe this and we interpret many circumstances which enter our life as detrimental. They inspire your discontent.
The Apostle Paul said he learned to be content in every circumstance of his life, in plenty and want, in hardship and peace, because he accepted by faith the genuine truth that every circumstance was given to him by God and intended for his good (Philippians 4:11-13). This is a most important lesson to grasp. Until you learn it, misery will accompany you in all seasons of your life.
Hebrews 12 reveals God’s answer to grappling with your circumstances: fix your eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the circumstances of the cross, scorned it’s shame, and sat down in the glory of His Father’s right hand. He is your pioneer, and He is the author of your faith. He gives you contentment in all circumstances. Fix your eyes on Him!
Consequently, you can experience satisfaction. You can be content with every circumstance! The peace of God will reign in your heart. And there is nothing better for you!
“Thou hidden source of calm repose, thou all sufficient love divine, my help and refuge from my foes, secure I am if thou art mine; and lo! from sin and grief and shame I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.”
(1st verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose,” 1749)