(Image from http://www.dailyotter.org)
I don’t know about you, but looking back on my life so far, it’s clear that my level of contentment tends to depend upon my personal circumstances. When life is going well, I’m happy. When life is difficult or frustrating, my mood nose-dives. Someone once said to me that a parent is only as happy as his or her most miserable child and, I guess from personal experiences, I can appreciate the truth in that.
If my levels of contentment wax and wane in direct relationship with my circumstances, then how much I depend on God also seems to correlate, but in the opposite direction. While life hits the buffers I cry out in desperation to God for help. When life gets easier, somehow I go back to being self-sufficient, forgetting my need to depend utterly upon my Heavenly Father who is always waiting and willing to help me in any of life’s circumstances. Why is that?
So when Paul writes in Philippians 4 11-12
“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT),
my natural inclination is to yell out HOW? at the top of my voice. But, thankfully, he goes on to answer that in the following verse,
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (v 13 NLT)
So if Christ gives us strength for every situation, let’s stop living as if getting through the highs and lows of life is completely down to us, and us alone. The Spirit that rose Jesus Christ from the dead lives in us and empowers us in all situations. Isn’t that amazing? I think that’s something to make us all smile, even in the toughest of circumstances.