"......for 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 all this through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:11-13
Tonight I walked through the rooms of my apartment for what will be one of the last times. Rooms so full, now completely empty.
Just a few months ago, life seemed so “secure”. Today, months after my job loss, I am forced into very unfamiliar waters. For the first time in my adult life, I am left without a place of my own.
My, how life can change so suddenly.
So I walked….
The second bedroom set aside for my adoption plans….
My living room where I’ve laughed, cried, and shared moments with my women’s ministry group ….
The bedroom where I’ve laid, prayed, and poured out my heart to God.
But as I sit here on the floor, next to my makeshift bed (a folding foam pad covered by my favorite childhood blanket), I do not feel empty.
In fact, I feel very full.
Full of God’s peace.
Full of God’s hope.
Full of God’s love.
In other words….content.
It’s in these moments that I fully grasp Paul’s words in Philippians 4.
While writing to the Philippians, Paul was literally in confinement. In the midst of intense hardship and captivity, he developed a resolve that said “whatever I have, it is sufficient for me.”
In our culture of "more-ness". It's hard to imagine this mindset.
How can one feel sufficient in ANY circumstance?
How can this be for Paul?
How can this be for me?
One of the most powerful names for God is El Shaddai (i.e. the all-sufficient God).
What that means is, no matter the circumstances, I have the ability to find fullness and abundance in Him.
What that means is, no matter what my circumstances say I can choose a spirit of joy and victory over a spirit sadness and complaining.
This is the truth that Paul clung to while in bondage. This is the truth we must cling to during life’s storms.
This is not always easy. Trust me, I know.
As I write to you, I can attest that difficult circumstances can be both spiritually AND physically uncomfortable. As I sit here, so many broken hopes and expectations echo off the walls of these empty rooms. But because I know El Shaddai, the all-sufficient God, my response to them is not tears….but a reassuring smile.
Because I know El Shaddai, I can whisper to myself the words of David, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him…” (Psalm 43:5)
Because I know El Shaddai, I am content.
And the contented spirit can rest in His sufficiency.
The contented spirit focuses on His promises instead of problems.
The contented spirit will not be moved, even in the midst of uncertainty.
Do you know El Shaddai?
I hope you do.
In these empty rooms, I’ve gotten to know His fullness in a special way.
And you know what?
He wants to fill up all your emptiness too.
Will you let Him?
Let’s pray: Father God, I thank You that You are the God of sufficiency. You are my El Shaddai. You are my all-in-all. In You I have all that I need and could ever want. Help me to develop a habitual frame of mind that is thankful for everything I have whether it is adversity or prosperity. Lord whatever you assign to me, I receive knowing that my fullness is not measured by the world’s circumstances. My peace is not based on false senses of security. My hope, trust, and faith rest solely in You. Thank you for a contented spirit. In Jesus name. Amen.