“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11)
The pain of the flesh comes, we are to be content, the pain of the mind when contemplating millions of souls pouring into hell every month, of watching loved ones suffer and die, of unrighteousness abounding, yet we are to be content.
Whenever this verse crosses my mind, John 14:4 does also, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” I ask, and it does not happen, and so then 2 Corinthians 12:9 is the next verse in my thoughts, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
At times, with no disrespect to our Lord and Savior, I can understand why the lost call us fools, we are in pain, we ask the Lord to fulfill what He has promised, that if we ask anything in His name, He tells us to suffer and that His grace is sufficient, and we are to remain content in whatever state He has determined to place us in. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19)
My friends, if you cannot understand and live by Romans 1:17 then you are indeed to be pitied, “The just shall live by faith.” Not answered prayers, not a life free from all pain, tribulation and trials, not one where you are happy. That is the conundrum, if you will, each of us at times have these thoughts, yet few will admit it to themselves, they know they are not asking amiss, they know the Lord could remove whatever burden it is that is plaguing them, they know that a day is coming where even our tears will be wiped away, but that does not answer the question, “Why not today, why not right now?”
Can you be content in the valley of the shadow of death? There is pain there you know. Can you honestly walk without fear when those 10,000 are opposed against you? Can you continue on the path when the physical pain, the emotional turmoil, and the Spiritual suffering seems too much to bear? Is His grace truly enough for you?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) But you cannot fix any of those issues, only the Holy Spirit can, and when you ask in His name for them to be removed and they are not, when you are told that His grace is sufficient, that you are to be content where you are, then you will find who your faith truly rests upon, then you will find if you are honestly able to say, “Thy will be done.”
At the breaking point is where your faith is tested.
We like to repeat the verse, but we have no real idea of the faith it took for Job to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: (Job 13:15a) We have no concept of the faith it took to say, “We will not bow before your obelisk, even if it means you will throw us in the furnace.” To be cast into a den of lions, to be tortured to death in the coliseum. Some understand, most do not the words, “Thy will be done.”
We want to be healed, far too many who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior believe the word “content” to mean “happy,” to be pain free. Can you understand by this poorly written short letter now the words Paul said? “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil. 3:10)
I hate pain, I hate the frustrations, I hate some of the things that the Lord brings into my life, but I do not hate Him for doing so.
That is the test of faith.
Abiding in Christ is not meant to be easy, no matter what you have been told, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, should you not be also? Someday, one day all that pain will be removed, perhaps today, but until then if you cannot say, “Thy will be done,” and remain content in it, you will never know the peace that passeth all understanding.
Sometimes what I am led to write is not always easy to read.