A few weeks ago our oldest daughter was accepted into the nursing program she had applied to. There were more than a few tears of thankfulness and great rejoicing all around. The weeks of waiting ended in a pleasant and longed for result. But what if she hadn’t been accepted? She had not one but two different contingency plans in place and more importantly she had her head and mind in the right place. She was prepared to submit to a different outcome.
In her book, Virtuous, Nancy Wilson shares that her mother-in-law defined Christian contentment as a deep satisfaction with the will of God. This is more, far more, than a grin and bear it attitude. It is much more than a waiting for my ship to come in outlook. True contentment is more than a Pollyanna-esque belief that if God closes one door He will open a window.
A complete acceptance of circumstances.
An abiding trust when it just doesn’t make sense.
It’s the bloom of faith in the midst of hard disappointing circumstances. And that sort of faith doesn’t just happen. I mean it’s easy for us to be content and fine when the lines are falling for us in pleasant places. And that’s okay. We should be happy and thankful when God is pouring a blessing upon our head.
But true contentment isn’t the lovely wildflowers that spring up across a field. They’re the flower on the cactus blooming among the sharps points and barbs.
That kind of contentment hard fought and won and often times we are even unwilling to see and accept it in others. If a young mother never complains about difficulties with her little ones we assume she doesn’t have any. Or we assign some kind of super next level faith to her.
The woman who never speaks ill of her husband is looked upon as being married to a perfect man and having a perfect life. In actuality she has learned that complaining and whining doesn’t make her burdens any lighter but rather heavier.
That deep satisfaction with God’s will grows in the soil of submission, watered by prayer and fertilized with God’s word.
We have to be willing to wrestle through our own discontentment, pain and hurt, plans and agenda. We have to dig in and believe that His timing is perfect and that what He designs for us is far more perfect and good for us than anything we could come up with on our own.
Only then can we say along with Paul that no matter what situation we find ourselves in we are content.