“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Phil 4:11
During May 2012, after I delivered my first born son, I experienced debilitating postpartum headaches that made it close to impossible to function during the day and care for my baby. Hoping that it would get better over time, day after day the headaches would not go away. I visited doctors of many disciplines, tried numerous different medications and none seemed to make a difference. In fact, I seemed to be feeling worse on some of the medications. After 6 months, by God’s grace, I found a medication that worked for me.
I continued to take the medication through the birth of my second son who is now 3 months old. Again, after delivery, I experienced headaches and I am currently in the process of adjusting the dosage of my medication to reach an optimal level. In the midst of feeling physical pain that consequently exhausts me mentally, emotionally and spiritually it is so hard to be content. What does contentment mean anyway?
The Greek word for contentment is ‘arkeo’ which means to have unfailing strength to be satisfied, to be enough. I love that the definition includes possessing unfailing strength. Anyone who is experiencing illness, shattered dreams, disappointments, grief and the list goes on knows that there are days when it takes every bit of strength just to get through the day. However, the charge is greater than just getting through the day. The charge is to be satisfied in your circumstances. Satisfied? Eh hem…must I say again SATISFIED?!!! Sorry, my headaches are making me exaggerate a little.
Though it seems impossible, Paul who was beaten, tortured and persecuted was content. He said, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:12-13) People often quote Paul’s words “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” when someone is, for example, trying to bench 200 pounds. However, Paul was saying that through Christ alone, he has the unfailing strength to be content in his circumstances.
It takes God’s strength to be satisfied in our circumstances. We cannot do it on our own. Just as God gives us the faith to believe in Him, He gives us the strength to be content at the peak of our most challenging moments. We can experience peace. What circumstance are you going through that makes contentment a challenge?