I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12
When Joni Eareckson Tada returned home after suffering a swimming accident that left her a quadriplegic, her life was vastly different. Now doorways were too narrow for her wheelchair and sinks were too high. Someone had to feed her, until she decided to relearn how to feed herself. Lifting the special spoon to her mouth from her arm splint the first time, she felt humiliated as she smeared applesauce on her clothes. But she pressed on. As she says, “My secret was learning to lean on Jesus and say, ‘Oh God, help me with this!’ ” Today she manages a spoon very well.
Joni says her confinement made her look at another captive—the apostle Paul, who was imprisoned in a Roman jail—and his letter to the Philippians. Joni strives for what Paul achieved: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). Note that Paul had to learn to be at peace; he wasn’t naturally peaceful. How did he find contentment? Through trusting in Christ: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (v. 13).
We all face different challenges throughout our days; and we all can look to Jesus moment by moment for help, strength, and peace. He will help us to hold back from snapping at our loved ones; He will give us the courage to do the next hard thing. Look to Him and find contentment.
How has leaning on Jesus helped you to find peace? In what areas of your life are you struggling right now? How could you commit them to God?
Saving Christ, thank You for giving me courage and hope. When I feel weak, help me to find strength in You.
Paul’s letter to the Philippian believers is one of his Prison Epistles, so called because they were composed during his time of incarceration by the Roman authorities. It’s from his imprisonment that Paul discusses the “secret of being content” (4:12). There’s an interesting split between how Paul describes his circumstances and his response to them. He “knows” what his circumstances are: he’s experienced plenty, want, and hunger. But his response of contentment has been “learned” (v. 11). In other words, his contentment wasn’t a natural response to his difficult circumstances. He had to experience hardship and, by God’s strength, learn how to respond (v. 13).