Contentment

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Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

“Hello.” The gentle voice of a young lady came through an open doorway in a hospital corridor as my friends and I walked past. I suggested that we enter and visit the apparently lonely patient. But I was not prepared for the shock I experienced as we approached the hospital bed. 

The patient was a nineteen-year-old girl rigged up in a traction device that looked as if it belonged in a medieval torture chamber instead of a modern hospital. A steel halo was firmly attached to her skull with stainless steel screws. The constant pressure of the traction was intended to prepare her deformed spine for surgery, the twenty-seventh such surgery in her young life. 

At a loss for words, I clumsily stated, “My, that doesn’t look very comfortable.” 

“Yes,” she replied, “it hurts terribly.” Then, after a brief pause, she added, “But it’s really nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for me.” 

During the visit that followed, we were deeply moved by the young lady’s honest heart and obvious peace. She clearly demonstrated that contentment is founded on a pure relationship with Jesus Christ, not on circumstances. The Apostle Paul was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, and betrayed, yet he declared that he had learned to be content “in whatsoever state I am.” 

When reverses, trials, pain, and discouragement assail us, do we react in anger, self-pity, blame, or bitterness? Or can we respond as H. G. Spafford did? This man had lost all his property in the Great Chicago Fire and then his four young daughters in a disaster at sea. Still, he was able to write, “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 

– Pete Lewis

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