By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Ailstock
I have a confession to make. Are you ready? Here it goes. I like stuff. There, I finally said it. What a relief to finally get that off my chest. “I…like…stuff.” I like new phones, shiny cars, new fishing and hunting gear. I like new books, new technology, new adventures and new ideas.
Let me ask you a couple of tough questions. These are questions I find myself asking on a regular basis. Why is it so difficult to be satisfied with what we have? Why is it so hard to be content? Why can’t I just be grateful for what I have instead of wishing I had all of the things that I don’t have? Have you ever had to ask yourself something similar?
In Philippians 4:11-13, the Apostle Paul says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
The Apostle Paul faced it all: multiple imprisonments, shipwreck, humiliation, beatings, exhaustion and hunger. Through all of this, he was able to find lasting joy, happiness and his meaning and purpose in life.
How was he able to do so? Paul learned how to be content. How? I think the key is found in verse 13 when Paul says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
How was Paul able to be content in all circumstances of his life? Because he trusted God – a trust that was built upon his experience of the steadfast love and faithfulness of his Lord. Just as Paul was able to learn contentment in the Lord as he reflected upon God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness in his life, so you and I can find the same hope and purpose in our lives today.
Let me encourage you today to trust him with the small things. Trust him with the big things. Take some time to meditate and reflect upon the faithfulness of God in your own life. And don’t be surprised if you, too, begin to find a renewed sense of satisfaction and contentment in your relationship with the Lord.
(Editor’s note: Ailstock is the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital chaplain.)