I often wonder why some of us are at peace with little or much and others are dissatisfied regardless of their state. The short and simple answer is we sometimes lack contentment. Being content means that I focus less on results, likes, more, increase, and “enough”, and fix my eyes on the giver of every good gift. James 1:17 reads, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” To personify contentment, one could imagine Mr. or Miss Satisfied. This imaginary being is not seeking more, rather he or she is focused on managing, appreciating, and stewarding what they already have. When I look around, I see that sometimes I am not properly caring for what I have, yet I am asking God for MORE. Many of us quote the scripture, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me…”, yet conveniently leave out the preceding text referring to being content with little or much.
“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. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13
Being content does not mean that we do not acknowledge the fact that we need more, it means we do not dwell on the lack, instead, we thank God for the state we are presently in. I have a deficit that would cause some to faint; however, I know that God knows what I need. The Lord wants to show me how I handle lack, disappointments, asking others for help, uncertainty, and stringent deadlines that I cannot meet. There are several options before me. I can fret, showing my lack of faith in God or I can trust in the Most High God to supply my needs. There are times that we waver between these two states. How does God feel when we get out of the boat, so to speak trusting Him, but lack the faith to stay out of the boat, walking on our impossibilities? What was Jesus’ response to Peter in this situation? How can we learn from Peter? The turning point between faith and fear was his gaze upon the severity of his situation. Contentment comes when we make God bigger than what we are up against. Contentment is synonymous with peace in a storm.
“Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.” Matthew 14:28-30
Another synonym for contentment is serenity. Certainly, God does not expect us to have serenity when waves are crashing all around us, lightning is flashing, and rain is pouring. He actually does require that we view Him as greater than the potential threat that pursues us. Who knows how to quiet a storm? Jesus! Who controls nature? God. Who can comfort us in any situation? El Shaddai. We need not fret, but rather plant our feet on the mountain or valley and stand before God unafraid, unashamed, and yes, content. If the Israelites were content with what God provided, when He provided it, they would have entered into the Promised Land, but instead, they grumbled, doubted, and even came against the man of God. Do we ever do that? Do we stop going to church, speak negatively towards the men and women of God, complain about our lack of more stuff, murmur because God is not moving fast enough for us? There have been times when I have doubted God’s concern for me because He seemed silent and my troubles were loud.
To mute the storms we put them to work for us. Do not entertain the storm, employ the storm. Remind yourself that God is using difficult situations to mold, shape, and build you spiritually. With trials on our payroll, we can be content. Our contentment in a given situation demonstrates our faith, thus moving God. When my son wants something, to the point that he cries and whines about it, I do not move until he quiets himself. I do this because I do not want him to get the message that he moves me with his tears. His contentment shows me that he is grateful for what he has and is ready for more. When Job repented and stopped whining, forgiving his “friends”, God restored him to a state that far exceeded what he lost. Is there a place in your life where you can stay out of the boat by faith and quiet your soul in contentment. I have several. I will continue to walk on water, resisting the urge to grumble or become fearful, towards Jesus. After all, I asked Him “bid me come.” Jesus did not tell me that the wind and the waves would cease as I walked towards Him. My response to the storm should reflect my proximity to Jesus not the inclement weather in my life.
“Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”” Job 42:1-6
“When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before!” Job 42:10
If only had looked straight ahead
I could’ve seen Jesus, but I saw trouble instead
You feed me well, You are my bread
So why do I worries race through my head?
From now on I will be Spirit led
Walking on water, content, and fed
Catch me, Jesus, surely I’ll sink
Danger is near, I’m on the brink
Fragrance of trust began to stink
So focused on issues, it’s hard to think
Again, You grab my weary hand
I quieted myself at Your command
Employed the trial, no more sinking sand
Miracle worker, I believe again