A BIG Lesson
Children are remarkable. The longer one is around them it becomes obvious that unknowingly they teach life’s biggest lessons. Contentment is a word many of us hear, strive to achieve and yet never really bask in the true meaning of it. All our lives we are taught to be content where you are or with what you have. Yet, social media and society seem to scream the exact opposite. With all the distractions of today, seeking contentment (which is only found in Christ) must be a daily decision, if not an hourly one. I was recently going through pictures and thinking back about our time in the orphanage and about all our experiences in Ukraine. Two things stick out in my mind. First, was the lack of simple luxuries we often take for granted here in America . . . having enough water, fresh fruit or even electricity to say the least. Second, I remembered the reckless abandonment of our own efforts and instead a steadfast faith that God would meet our needs despite all the uncertainty. I can remember praying in the morning for something we needed (favor, paperwork, answers, even water) and by the evening our prayers were answered. You see, we had no choice. We couldn’t phone a friend, run to Costco or drive to the bank. The only thing we could do was rely on His faithfulness . . . not on our own abilities or strength. During that reliance on God, though struggles were endless, we were completely content to trust Him for all the big and small details of our lives. This contentment gave us a peace and unspeakable joy despite the insurmountable circumstances.
So why are people unable to live a life of contentment in America? It’s simple. We live in a land where anything and everything is possible. Why would we choose His strength when our capabilities are endless?? If we have everything we need why are we not content? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is because we choose faith in ourselves, rather than in the God who can supply all our needs . . . and I do mean ALL. If we choose to live in our own strength, we will fail every time. Our two months in Ukraine taught us many things but can be summed up in one descriptive statement, “To simply live each day, not knowing all the answers but firmly trusting the One who holds the answers.” What a concept I need to put into practice each and every day we are back in America.
We know our children’s history, however we have never experienced it ourselves. I myself have never experienced hunger without knowing when my next meal would come. I have never gone without having a bed or my own pair of shoes. Yet as my daughter can identify with all three of these, she talks as if it was just a fact of life or as if to say, “that’s just the way things were.” There is no sense of “please feel sorry for me” or “I can’t believe that happened to me!” Instead, my child (and millions around the world) somehow learned to be content with whatever state she was in . . . hungry or full, warm or cold. It reminds me of the verse when the Apostle Paul stated that he “learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 4:11-13).
I am NOT at all saying these children should be content with depravity. The fact that they are subject to this nightmare is a huge subject all in itself. However, I am saying that we need to take this BIG example and apply it to the everyday choices in our lives. If little children can decide to be content in such grave circumstances, then why can’t we adults with all our huge blessings, be content? Think about it for a while and see what answers you come up with. I know for us, it’s the worldly distractions that steel our attention from Christ and ultimately cause us to chase what we feel is important at that very moment and thus lose our focus and subsequently our contentment. It’s at that moment when one becomes so busy, that reading the Bible, praying or just listening for His voice, becomes drowned out allowing contentment in Him to slip away. In this world distractions are the ultimate culprit. If we can make Christ the priority, all those other things screaming our names slowly disappear and everything else will fall into place. Let’s face it; our own efforts and strength lead to a life of regret and incredible dissatisfaction. No matter how hard a person tries, he or she will never be content apart from Christ. If we take the opportunity to look closely it becomes clear that we all have an amazing blessing staring right at us . . . WE can make the ultimate decision to choose contentment (Christ) rather than following some fleeting feeling.