I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)
Our voices of thankfulness are closely connected to the contentment in our hearts. If we are content with our situation in life, then it’s easy to give thanks. When we are content with our job, we are thankful for it. When we are content with the way other people treat us, we give thanks for our favorable relationships. If we have good health, we may often pray to God and thank him for this blessing. When our heart’s desires are fulfilled, thankfulness is easier to express.
However, when there is discontent, then thankfulness is harder to put into words. How can I be thankful when my job is a hassle, or I can’t seem to earn enough, or other people treat me badly? How can I be thankful for that accident I had, or the surgery I need to have, or many other circumstances which disturb me or adversely affect me?
There is a way to be truly content no matter what’s going on. The apostle Paul declared, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” The source of his contentment did not come from within himself or depend on life’s situations. The apostle found contentment in the fact that he was forgiven by God because of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to give him eternal life. Paul’s contentment was based on his confidence in the eternal, loving-kindness of God.
True contentment is not attained by the quantity of things or the quality of life. True contentment is the result of the glorious status that we have with God through Jesus. Our outlook on life changes significantly when we learn to say with Paul, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Cherishing our Savior’s loving will for our lives and trusting in his almighty power, we have the satisfaction that he will always sustain us. In all situations—in plenty or want, in sadness or joy, in success or failure, in hardship or blessing—God does not fail to be our refuge and strength.