One day, after a particularly whiny session of pleading with the Lord, I was inspired to ask forgiveness for my discontent. I was reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 4, that he had found “the secret of being content in any and every situation,” and also his advice to the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances.
Since I believe God hears and answers prayer, that He is a loving God who wants what is eternally best for me, that everything He allows in my life is for my good and His glory, how can I be discontented? Like Paul, I can and should choose to be contented in every situation.
Paul found the strength of will to find contentment in the harshest circumstances by accepting that it was God’s will and by being grateful for whatever God allowed in his life.
Gratitude and discontentment cannot coexist for long. One will dominate and eventually extinguish the other. The one we feed and nurture will grow strong, while the other shrivels through neglect. What begins as merely a transient season of emotion can become a fixed attitude.
Paul chose to nourish gratitude, looking always for the eternal perspective in his life, rather than dwelling on the various thorns and afflictions which can beset us all.
Our culture seems to be driven by discontent. The Blame Game has become our national pastime as we are on constant alert for offenses to share on social media. While a little discomfort with the status quo can be the impetus for improvement and growth, it is necessary to stop focusing on the problems and begin taking stock of the good that exists before we can imagine how to make it better. We can focus on the irritants and disappointments in life or we can look for the blessings in our very existence.
Paul was an exceptional man and an example to us all, but he lived his life to point us to the ultimate example of the life well-lived, Jesus Christ.