“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11).
We tend to chase that golden pot at the end of the rainbow, that something in the future that will bring us contentment. Hopefully, some new experience, some new success, some new degree of cooperation or obedience from the people around us, or meeting someone new will make us happy.
I’ve listened to many people describe their hopes with excitement in their voices; their eyes sparkle, and happy smiles light up their faces. Generally, such optimism consumes us when there are prospects for something new in the future.
I’ve listened to the same people who have been in pursuit of something new for a while–perhaps years. Their hopes have turned to ashes. As they recount what happened, their eyes are slits, the corners of their mouths are turned down. Their voices tremble.
We all know people–perhaps our own children, parents, or close friends–who have spent many years in pursuit of education, wealth, power, social life or religious life. Their goal was a fulfilled, contented, productive life. But they ended up depressed, sour, bitter, frustrated and empty, with broken friendships and marriages. They didn’t learn “to be content in whatever circumstances” they were. [Read more…]