Just what does it mean to be contented?
Webster's dictionary gives the definition as: feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation.
|Our son Noah and his wife, Jessica
A friend of ours asked our son, who had been stuck overnight in the Atlanta airport, how he slept. Our friend speculated that our son, a US Marine, would give this response:
"On cushioned airport chairs in an air conditioned airport with a roof and restrooms that are private and cleaned regularly and good food available as far as I could see and not a single landmine, IED, or attempted enemy assault. What do you mean, 'How did I sleep?' "
Of all people I know, our son, through his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the training of the US Marine Corps, has truly learned "in whatsoever state...therewith to be content." He has learned that contentment comes from within, not from without.
So often we think of contentment as the state of having everything we need, or even most things which we desire, but contentment, in actuality, is a choice. A learned choice to be content with the moment at hand.
How do we learn that? How do we simply decide that whatever circumstances come our way we will be content where we are found? The same way we learn other things, by receiving and believing information, by application of the theory into practicality and by repetition.
We don't learn contentment from a staunch stoicism to "take it on the chin." We don't learn it by just steeling ourselves against whatever goes against our thoughts of contentment. We learn it by realizing it is a conscious choice on our part, not for us to be or do something, but rather to trust in One Who is and Who does in and through us. Then we make the choice to be content in Him, over and over and over again. And over and over and over again we find our hearts filled with peace and joy.
We willingly trust that the Lord will work His will and His way in our hearts, in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Then as we know His faithfulness more fully, we realize "This is the Lords doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes," (Psalm 118:23). Our emotions don't always follow this line of faith, because that part of us hasn't been redeemed yet, but in our spirits - joined to the Spirit of God - we will know peace, His peace.