With all the turmoil in today’s world, sorrow and pain resound loudly across the globe. How can anyone avoid being drained of all of their joy and contentment when tornadoes, famine, disease, loss, heartbreak, death, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism, persecution, and war penetrate everyone’s personal lives?
Life indeed is unfair and cruel. Good and evil people alike suffer pain in copious ways, and when they do, many soak themselves in self-pity. What happened to happiness and where can it be found?
The truth is that the “secrets” I am about to share are not meant to be secret at all. They are readily available for anyone who takes the time to search for them. To be content, you must have everything and be able to do everything.
Some people think that having everything means obtaining all the clothes, money, possessions, and relationships that you possibly can in one short lifetime. However, those that strive to obtain everything this way find that they still feel discontent as they sit with their things, reflecting on their lives. So how does having everything bring contentment?
The key is that Christ IS everything.
When you have Christ in your life, you lack nothing. You have the reassurance that all of your needs will be met. You can be content knowing that although there is pain here on Earth, you will have eternal joy in a perfect paradise, since YOUR name is written in the book of life. Someday you will be with God in Heaven, and have everything you need, and you will find no sorrow there. You have all you need as long as you have salvation in Christ which brings you life everlasting in Paradise.
The second part is to be able to do everything. Doing everything does not mean that you always get your way, or that you can accomplish incredible feats or break records, or land the job you are fighting for. A serious problem confronts those who believe that they can be content this way: Simply, no one is strong enough to handle all of life’s challenges on their own. We need help.
The apostle Paul sheds light on what motivates him and helps him hang on to his contentment “whatever the circumstances” in his letter to the Philippians chapter 4. He praises God and rejoices with fellow Christians even while he is imprisoned and in chains.
“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 [Christ] who gives me strength.”
This comforting excerpt from the Bible explains that no matter what life throws at you, whether it be losing your job or loved ones, whether you fall into bankruptcy or if you are forced to beg on the streets, or if disaster takes all your earthly “valuables,” or whatever may befall you, You are able to DO EVERYTHING with the help of God. To have Jesus is to have everything, but it is also to have the strength to overcome every single challenge that you encounter. God will give you what you need to survive the trials of this world if only you trust that He is in control and you don’t have to be. What trouble we would be in if we had to plan and coordinate all the intricacies of our complicated lives! We lack the ability to orchestrate all the little details in our lives and make sure that everything coincides smoothly together. I am glad that all I have to do is trust God and go along for the ride.
In summary, in order to always have true contentment in the midst of this world’s sadness, one must ensure that their happiness is independent of their surrounding circumstances. When you face hardship, you will still have the joy of knowing God is providing you with all you need. When you experience grief, you can be assured that God has something greater in mind for you and has an eternal, pain-free home waiting for you. This world can and will take what you value, who you love, and replace them with sorrow. But as long as Christ is your true source of contentment, you will never be without joy. No one can ever take the love of God away from you– EVER. In Christ you have everything, and you can do everything. So fear not, and go forth through this life with confidence knowing that you are not alone and never will be.