Thursday, January 8, 2009

Story of Contentment

I am reading through the daily devotional "Streams in the Desert" given to me on Christmas by a dear friend and mentor, Mrs. Poff. As I read yesterday's devotion it painted a beautiful (and slightly painful) picture of a current theme in my life right now. Lately I have been struggling with being content in every area and in every situation. As I've expressed to many of you, I would much rather be finished with "school" or at least online classes so as to free me up to do other things such as cooking and learning skills and specifics that will benefit my family now and in the future. So on to yesterday's devotional...

It began with this verse:
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Phil 4:11) 
Now that in of itself speaks volumes. L.B Cowman, the author of "Streams in the Desert," expounded on contentment better than I ever could and shares a little story, so I'll let you read his work.

"Paul, denied of every comfort, wrote the above words in his dungeon. A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it cold not stand erect and have as fine a fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heartsease, he found its bright face lifted as cherry as ever. 'Well heartsease, I'm glad amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened. ' 'No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted and oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heartsease, I am determined to be the best little heartsease that I can.'"

Others may do a greater work, 
But you have your part to do; 
And no one in all God's heritage 
Can do it so well as you. 

"They who are God's without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills, and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything, and in this nakedness find all things restored a hundredfold."

Conclusion: God has designed everyone of us for a specific purpose and reason; just like the heartsease flower: He wanted us just the way we are. He has planed out every aspect of our lives and we must learn to be content in the here and now. Truth is, if we never learn to be content where He has placed us, doing what He designed us to do, we will never learn to be happy later. True happiness and joy can only come from Him. When we thrive in Him, doing what we were created for; love God and enjoy Him forever, then will we be content. 
~Reaching heavenward,
Marissa =)


Prairie Momma said...

Marissa, Painful but wonderful post. Contentment was such a hard thing for me to grasp years ago. Then, I did a word study on the Fruit of the Spirit. I learned that the Greek word for joy (which is the translated word always used to my knowledge) actually means contentment. I always felt that I had joy in the sense of happiness, jolliness, smiliness, etc, etc, but I was hit over the head the realization that I could not honestly say I had contentment in my life at that point in time. It was such a release and moment of freedom when I learned (as you are learning much sooner than I did) that my contentment will only come from my relationship with Our Lord and where He has me at that moment. WOW!!! That doesn't mean that ugly monster doesn't still rear its ugly head now and then, but true joy (contentment) can fill you to overflowing so that you are ready to serve when and where He calls. I'm so excited for you as you see this area that needs to be set free in your life. I'm especially happy that you are learning to do that at this time in your life. What a blessing!! Many hugs and much love to you, Dear Friend!!! Mrs. H

Poff Clan said...

I'm so glad you're being encouraged by the readings in the book.:) I think learning contentment is one of those life-long battles since new circumstances are always waiting for us, opportunities to submit to His will rather than our own and surrender more quickly than before our own plans. I'll be praying specifically for you about these things, knowing God will continue to give you peace about where God has you now. I pray that He'll not only give you peace, but much delight, too, as you submit to His loving Hand. Love you much!
Mrs. Poff