March 31, 2011 Veronica Bartholic
20th Day of Lent Corinthians 1:18-19
From “The Divine Physician”
Morning and Evening Devotions
By: William B. Ward
The Art of Contentment
“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, there-with to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
This is an amazing statement which Paul made, for the word he used for “learn” means to learn out of one’s own experience. Paul’s life had not been one of calm security and quiet prosperity. He wrote his autobiography in these words, “In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft…in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (II Corinthians 11:23, 27.) When he wrote that he had learned how to be content; He was in a Roman prison, waiting to stand trial for his life before the despot Nero.
Certainly Paul was a master of the art of contentment. His secret was living daily in the light of the greatest truths he knew. He faced his worries and fears with the most significant facts his mind could comprehend.
The art of contentment is meeting life in the light of the greatest truth we know about God–His sovereign love. This world is not controlled by unthinking luck or crazy chance, but by a merciful Father. We can meet every worry and fear with the knowledge that the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27.)
We can meet life with the greatest truth we know about ourselves–that we are children of God. We are more than bodies subject to the vicissitudes of daily existence. We are immortal spirits with a destiny beyond the stars. We meet each day in the light of God’s plan for us through the eternal ages, so that the quiet radiance of eternity may transform every mundane hour.
To live daily in the light of the greatest truths we know about God and His will for us is to find the art of contentment. We can learn to say, out of our own experience, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
God, in the midst of the discomfort, frustration, and even resentment which illness often brings, we pray for quiet contentment and peace. We would leave the reasons for it all in your eternal love and grace, and pray now for that measure of Your Spirit we need for today. Look into our hearts, see the deep needs which in us lie, and answer those needs according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.