Learning to Be Content
Writer Author Janet Seever
- Fiction No
The return address on the envelope of the Christmas letter was unfamiliar. When I opened it, I saw the letter was from our friend Elaine. Had she moved?
Elaine quickly explained the reason for her change of address. After 30 years of teaching and living in a major city, she had retired. She was now helping her 86-year-old dad take care of her 64-year-old brother who needed 24-hour supervision.
As I read those words, sadness swept over me. What a difficult situation Elaine must be in! I had no idea what her brother’s problem was, but 24-hour care must certainly be burdensome to the care-givers. My husband and I had known Elaine for 30 years and had been in the same Bible study on occasion.
We knew that she had faced the challenge of raising two sons without her husband and sometimes asked for prayer when her teaching situation was difficult. But we knew nothing of her brother.
However, as I continued to read, the next section reflected Elaine’s feeling about the situation.
“There’s hardly a dull moment, and we do have our ups and downs,” she wrote. “Sometimes I feel a little bit like I am in the ‘Little House in the Big Woods.’ We are .3 of a mile off a gravel road that is off another gravel road. We overlook a pond. When we are not enjoying God’s beautiful creation, we are either enjoying our favorite hobbies, or taking care of Gordy, my favorite brother.”
My favorite brother, she called him. My favorite brother. The words stunned me. Caring for Gordy was not a burden to her, but a privilege. Elaine displayed a graciousness I knew nothing of.
It made me wonder. . . how do I react when God puts me into as situation which seems burdensome? Am I thankful to be able to serve Him, or do I complain? God calls us to be content in whatever situation we are in. Am I content?
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:12 b (NIV): “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Contentment in every situation extends not only to whether we have food or money, but to the outward circumstances we find ourselves in as well. Paul also told the Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5:18 NIV).
Lord, teach me to serve You willingly and patiently in whatever place You call me. Sometimes Your reason for putting me in a situation is beyond my understanding, and You are working in an awesome way which I only understand later or may never understand this side of heaven. Please give me a spirit of thankfulness, so I will glorify you by my patient contentment. Amen
© 2004 Janet Seever All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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