Contentment Part 7
Contentment as we have seen is a bit of a spiritual mystery. It does not come naturally, but as the Apostle Paul states, "He has learned to be content." (Phil.4:11) Let us take a look at finding and learning of it through our faith in the Lord, our relationship with Him, our staying close to Him. One thing that should give us a good sense of contentment is that we should be more aware about Him taking away our sins than the taking away of His appointed afflictions for us. These afflictions will come upon us for a variety of reasons, the overarching reason I believe is to conform us more into the image and likeness of His Son Jesus Christ.
It is our walk of faith in Him that will help us in, through, and out of these afflictions, though some may seem to linger for such a long time which is altogether possible by Divine reasons. The word faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1, as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." The sailor whose ship is being tossed to and fro on the raging sea can only hope that clearer skies will come, which they eventually do. For it has always been that way. So, faith in the future grace of our God has always been there to see us through in the past, and it will surely be there for us in the future. And even if our present situation is as dark as we could possibly imagine, a bright future is guaranteed to be there for us in heaven meeting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, face to face, in a place He called paradise.
2Cor.4:17 states, "That our momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." He states this as a reason in the preceding verse about our outer man decaying, and that in the verse succeeding that, that we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things that are not seen. And why should we look at things like that? The 18th verse continues, "for (or because) the things which are see are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal." All that we see and experience is temporal, and these sufferings we go through are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. Lord, help us desire an eternal perspective while still in a temporal realm. So, what can we do with our faith? English Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs states, "I can do this, I can in all states cast my care upon God, cast my burden upon God, I can commit my way to God in peace; faith can do this."
I am sure Joseph, after being abandoned by his brothers in Genesis 37, wondered how this would all turn out. Through a variety of difficult things he went through, Joseph desired to be faithful to God. And he states in Gen.45:5,"God sent him before you to preserve life." and in verse 8 he states that "the brothers did not send him, but God did. God certainly has ultimacy in what happens. Alexander MacLaren states, "If we are rooted, grounded, built on Jesus, we partake of the security of the Rock of Ages to which we are united, and cannot be swept away by the storm, so long as it stands unmoved. The secret of strength for all men is to hold fast by the strong Son of God, and they only are sufficient in whatsoever state they are, to whom this loving and quickening voice has spoken the charter, 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'" This will conclude our study of contentment. Lord help us not be ever learning and never come to a knowledge of the truth as was said of the widows in 2Tim.3, but Lord, let us not be ever learning of this lesson of contentment and yet not come to have skill in it.
Elder Randy Slak