You might know what it’s like. The bills keep arriving after a medical procedure—from the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the lab, the facility. Jason experienced this after an emergency surgery. He complained, “We owe thousands of dollars after insurance. If only we can get these bills paid, then life will be good and I’ll be content! I feel like I’m playing the arcade game Whack-a-Mole”—where plastic moles pop up from their holes, and the player hits them wildly with a mallet.
Life comes at us like that at times. The apostle Paul certainly could relate. He said, “I know what it is to be in need,” yet he’d “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). His secret? “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (v. 13). When I was going through a particularly discontented time, I read this on a greeting card: “If it isn’t here, where is it?” That was a powerful reminder that if I’m not content here and now, what makes me think I’d be if only I were in another situation?
How do we learn to rest in Jesus? Maybe it’s a matter of focus. Of enjoying and being thankful for the good. Of learning more about a faithful Father. Of growing in trust and patience. Of recognizing that life is about God and not me. Of asking Him to teach me contentment in Him.
God, You are good and all You do is good. Teach me contentment in You. I want to learn.
Philippians 4:10–20 is one of Paul’s great expositions on contentment, along with 1 Timothy 6:2–10. It’s clear from both passages that Paul isn’t concerned about wealth. Indeed, his focus isn’t on his own needs but on the benefit provided to the generous givers, “God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi” (Philippians 1:1). Paul says, “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account” (4:17). He saw their generous contributions as a sacrifice to God and noted that it was God who would meet their needs (vv. 18–19).