Is it impossible to be content in your pain? Karlton explains how you can find that contentment after all.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11)
It seems impossible to me to be content when I feel so miserable. When my nerves are on edge, when fatigue feels like a cloak of lead dragging me down, when aches and pains make me feel horrible to the core of my being, I cannot imagine being anywhere close to content.
The only way I can find any measure of contentment is to try and refocus my perspective. And the only way I can shift my perspective is to consider the Lord, His ability to save, heal, protect, defend, and empower the helpless. I need the peace of God that transcends my temporary circumstances, my momentary misery.
Pretending that I’m feeling well when I feel like something that has been run over by a pickup truck–that is useless. I cannot wish away my misery, and neither can you. We might as well be honest about how lousy we feel, admit that the only way we could feel any worse would be if someone set us on fire. Honesty is the starting point to refocusing our perspective.
Okay, so we admit we are in pain. What is our recourse in such circumstances to be content? We begin by taking our thinking to a higher place than our circumstances, we reach out to the Lord in prayer, we consider his might and power, an awesome power mightier than the “lions, tigers, and bears” of life that have taken their toll upon us. We realize that our pain and misery are not long-term friends, but merely short-term enemies that will fall at the feet of Jesus.
In essence, we change our minds, no more pretending that our suffering is not real, but we acknowledge that there is something–someone even more real than our temporary misery– and with His help, we may be content in spite of our present suffering.
Contentment may seem like a word alien to your current situation. I know how you feel. To be content in misery seems impossible for me as well. Yet I have, time and again, seen God take a miserable day, a terrible period of my life, and give me moments of joy, peace, and contentment.
Feeling the embrace of a loved one, seeing the compassion and kindness in their eyes. Enjoying the random act of kindness from a stranger, and being able to show that same kindness to others, and seeing the affection in their eyes. Such things can pull us outside of ourselves, can lift us beyond our present misery, help us to see God in others, and allow God to be God through us and our actions. His mighty power is greater than our misery, and through His presence, peace, grace, and love, we find we can be content even in terrible circumstances.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we hate misery and we loathe suffering, yet we pray that through Your presence and grace we will help us be content and peace despite our misery. Amen.
About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He knows what it is to feel miserable in affliction, yet he is grateful for the Lord’s presence throughout his challenges.
Does it seem impossible to be content in your current circumstances? Do you feel overwhelmed by the misery in your life? Have you called upon the Lord lately?
We can’t be content with what the world gives us–it really is as simple as that. This song, “Here I am to Worship,” is one of those worship songs that reminds us to put everything else in our world aside for a few minutes and worship the Lord. We hope it will help you be content today.