True Contentment

Photo Katie McNaught on Unsplash

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of the deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

We’re in a season of loss in my family. Nothing like the tragic losses that Habakkuk was lamenting, but we are grieving and wondering “what now?” and crying out to God. Each day that passes without relief or even relief in sight, the emotional burden is getting heavier.

How long, O Lord?

Contentment has become a hard word. I know I’m supposed to be content,

Yet true godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

But how can you be content when you are lacking things you need? When you have lost something or someone dear to you (or both)? And I have no interest in faking it.

How long O Lord?

I take comfort in David’s psalms of lament. Here was a man anointed by God to be king, yet he was being hunted down by the current king like an animal. Where was God? I wonder if David doubted God’s promise. Circumstances weren’t confirming the call he’d been given.

Yet, no – when you read David’s story you see a man who trusted and waited for the Lord. Who praised His goodness in the face of loss and danger. A man who delighted in God no matter what.

And that is the secret, I’ve learned in these hard days, to contentment.

It’s not about your earthly circumstances. It’s not a cup of coffee in your favorite cafe with your favorite book in hand. This contentment is in knowing that God is good and faithful and wonderful therefore in Him you have enough. In knowing that He promised never to leave you, and He never will.

I woke up this morning with the same heaviness and anger I’ve had for awhile now. But as I began to pray and thank God for what He has provided and for His goodness and presence with me throughout my life, as I worshipped Him and accepted that life won’t always feel good but He will never forsake me, I experienced peace. He is enough. Therefore I can be content no matter the temporary losses of this life.

I am His and He is mine forever, and therefore though I am weak, yet I am strong.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I have learned the secret to being content whatever my circumstances: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Are you in a season of loss or uncertainty? Take a few minutes to reflect on God’s promises to you, on how He has met you in the past, and thank Him. Praise Him as an act of faith and trust that He will never leave nor forsake you!

In the Stillness

https://unsplash.com/photos/5ttEycWs3hs

You know those times when a book comes along at just the right moment? I’ve had the privilege of reading my friend Courtney Ellis‘s book Uncluttered and it’s just been a string of moments with God in my life as I read. The book is about decluttering our lives and souls and making space for joy, for God (it’s also really funny and totally down to earth. And I’m not just saying this because she’s my friend and will read this. It’s laugh out loud funny and then soul touchingly meaningful, and all shared through real life stories so it’s super fast and easy to read. And I’m not getting anything out of posting this – it’s just that good I wanted to share. You, too, can get your very own copy here! 😊).

But I digress!

Today I read this passage in Uncluttered

I used to fill every moment I waited in a grocery line with social media browsing, every silence in my car with the radio, every evening with a couple episodes of something or other from Netflix. But now, in these moments between an appointment and the house, between choosing produce and purchasing it, between asking a question and receiving an answer, between getting into bed and falling asleep, I have learned to listen for God. He’s always been present, but it is only now I am learning to hear.

During this holiday season I felt a little distant from the Lord. Now that the whirlwind has passed, I’m realizing that I filled every moment with planning and buying and celebrating – and I mean every moment. I’m pretty sure I was mentally Christmas shopping in my sleep. There was no time – it seemed – to sit and pray like I used to, and I hardly had time even to consider my choices.

But I was just reading in Courtney’s book yesterday (and not coincidentally – I felt like God was calling me to read it!) that busyness is a choice. None of the demands of life have control over us unless we let them. When we choose to create space, God is right there reaching out to us. And wow, you guys, there is no better way to spend time!

It’s hard to change old habits but I’ve resisted social media for a time, almost like a fast, so I can make space for the Lord, and He comes in with such warmth in my heart, such reassurances of His love. Such hope. I’ve recently been grieving several losses in my life (which I was also too busy to grieve – seriously, if you’ve suffered a loss, make time to grieve and do it with the Lord!) and in just a few minutes God graciously unraveled the knots in my soul with truth and hope and kindness. He was beckoning to me when I was all tied up emotionally and when I responded to Him, set things aside and took time with Him, there was such grace there to carry me through.

But I needed to make that space, that time to sit with Him.

What can you set aside today to connect with the Lord?