Restful Anticipation – Day 3
from You Version
It’s tempting to imagine the Apostle Paul penning his words about contentment from a mountaintop, but we must remember he wrote about learning the secret of contentment from prison. Paul writes this letter as he’s locked away from the church he loves and from the work that he’s most passionate about. He writes while he’s under the daily threat of execution. Paul writes with the intent of encouraging others to be content in all circumstances. He found the one thing no one could ever take from him, execution or not.
Our waiting seasons may look different, but we are on the same journey in many ways, trying to find the balancing act between contentment while contending for more. We can be content while contending for more; they are not mutually exclusive. It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other. Contentment isn’t complacency, and contending isn’t striving. God invites us to both; He invites us to be content in all circumstances, and He also invites us to knock and keep on knocking.
Contentment isn’t where we live or how much money we have. It’s not near the ocean or in the desert (although I have a preference). We can find contentment, like Paul said, in every circumstance. And if we have both godliness and contentment, we can go ahead and consider ourselves filthy rich.
Many people tell themselves when they reach a certain destination, they’ll be content. Once they have a baby, they’ll be content, once they get married, land their dream job, have a certain amount of money in the bank, or retire. But once they meet the benchmark, they immediately create another. They receive one answer to prayer and quickly move on to the next. In a frenzy, their minds search for what’s missing. They resemble Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, focused on the one thing they don’t have rather than all the gifts they do have.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “You say ‘If I had a little more, I shall be very well satisfied,’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
Let’s take time to recognize the answers to prayer we are already living in. Let’s enter into prayer asking God to help us to be content while we contend for the desires of our hearts. He invites us to keep praying, keep believing, and keep asking—and to be content while we wait for the answers.
Father, help me not to focus so much on what I don’t have that I miss out on all of your blessings. Help me to stay grateful and remain in awe of you. Let the contentment I choose daily become contagious to others. In my waiting season, help me to find the balance of remaining content while I contend for more. Amen.