If we fail to grow into loving God for who He is, as opposed to the affection that results from merely enjoying His blessings, we will find it difficult to maintain devotion when His purposes lead us down paths of difficulty and apparent lack of Divine provision.
"I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (Philippians 4:11).
How did the Apostle Paul "learn" such contentment? The writer of Hebrews answers - "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). In this command and promise, our Lord declares the sufficiency of His person and presence. We need not covet anything so long as we have Him. We can be content with whatever, be it abounding plenty or challenging abasement, as long as the promise abides - "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Indeed, our Heavenly Father made our hearts for Himself, to be the "habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). Paul learned this truth in times of God's abundant provision, but even more, during the seasons when the Lord's generous and dynamic hand seemed perplexingly still. "Why sleepest Thou, o Lord?" declared the same David who in other times exulted, "He that keepeth thee will not slumber" (Psalm 44:23; 121:4). The answer: God is determined that we shall know not merely the power of His hand, but the fulfilling presence of His heart. The greater grace of the latter is best known and learned when the seemingly suspended provision of the former beckons us to trust the heart of God when we cannot see His hand.
Abraham learned this during the long season of waiting for the fulfillment of God's promised son Isaac. Joseph found the heart of God in holes, prisons, and servitude. David knew his Lord in the cave of hiding and darkness. Daniel and the three young men discovered the sufficiency of God Himself in the den of lions and the fiery furnace. Mary's heart, once overjoyed, but ultimately pierced by the sword of sorrow, discovered the presence of God in the upper room of the Spirit's indwelling far more than in the rooms where she once lived in the Lord Jesus' physical presence. Paul suffered the loss all things, winning Christ in the process, and learning for his benefit and ours that contentment springs forth from the Wellspring of God Himself, regardless of His doings (Genesis 15-21; 37-50; I Samuel 22; Daniel 3 & 6; Luke 1&2; Acts 1&2; Philippians 3).
Such truth provides the greatest challenge that will ever confront our hearts. Is God Himself enough? As with Paul, we must "learn" this truth of contentment as known in God alone. And as with Paul, the lessons involve the classroom of challenge where the great Teacher reveals the sufficiency of Himself in abundance, but even more, in the suffering of need. We will not be disappointed when we submit ourselves to the great lesson that proceeds from the heart of God and reveals the true contentment of our own hearts…
"He is thy life."
Weekly Memory Verse
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.