Content! Who, Me?

Friday, September 10, 1999

Philippians 4:11-13 – I have 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. (NIV)

We have a darling black cocker spaniel, which has always been obedient and willing to please everyone. She is every visitor's friend. But now Mini is old and has gone deaf. She no longer comes bounding at my call. It's so sad! But I have felt most that Mini is still her happy self. How can she be so content?

Mini often teaches me a thing or two. Except for the first few days she adjusted beautifully and never complains. Indeed, she has learned sign language and I swear she can lip-read too. I point a finger in a certain direction and off she goes as happy as a puppy.

What about me? Can I be so content in whatever situation or whatever circumstances that overtake me? No way! I too am growing older, not going deaf, but lots of other physical circumstances bother me. Am I as accepting of my physical limitations as Mini? I struggle with this. When arthritic pain and stiffness make me limp and I ache all over, I complain.

This is the hardest thing for me, having this contentment that Paul obviously had. Then I remember the next verse, the key to contentment: "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." So I try to limit the complaining and carry on, trusting in the Lord to see me through as He gives me strength. I'm learning a lot from my dog and from God's timely word.

Prayer: Lord, forgive our impatience and complaining. You have always seen us through. Help us be content whatever the circumstances. Teach us to trust in you for the strength to endure each day's physical limitations, helping us see that they do not limit us when we open them as a channel to inner strength and delight in your presence. Amen.

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Iris Ford

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