Upon leaving the Women’s Retreat, I began searching my heart for what God would specifically say to me in the area of being tested. I was nine months pregnant, feeling great, and ecstatic for where my life was and where it was going.
For the first time in a really long while I find myself truly content. Of course, there are things that I would enjoy having like more time or a little more money. While I wouldn’t turn any of these things down if they were offered to me, I don’t find myself coveting them and focusing my mind, money and attention to try to gain more of them. At times, being content doesn’t seem possible this side of Heaven but I have clung to 1 Timothy 6:6 which says, “But godliness with contentment is a means of great gain.” This must mean it is possible to be content. Through this passage, I’ve discovered that the closer I am to God, the more content I will be despite my circumstances. It also brings perspective in regards to finding contentment with life’s necessities and not all of life’s luxuries. Paul wants to be sure believers realize that conforming to God’s truth and being godly is of utmost importance and he is advocating that you truly can be content in being godly. We don’t have to look to other things or get caught up in greed to find fulfillment since God is the only true source of contentment.
It’s often difficult to focus on a topic or message that doesn’t seem to immediately apply to you, such as the topic of “being tested” was for me. Sure, I’ve been through my fair share of trials and I know without a doubt that more are on the way, but at this point in my life I have found a joy, peace, and an ease to life that seem like the antithesis of testing. While reflecting and processing the amazing truths and stories of women who are going through or who have gone through immense difficulty and struggle, I found myself immediately thinking—Oh no! Life is good…which means something bad must be lurking around the corner. How easy it is for me to think that enjoying life and being content must mean that I’m doing something wrong as a Christian! And yet Jesus promises a full and abundant life (John 10:10). How sly of the enemy to take even a sweet and fulfilling season of life and bring fear and uncertainty because life can’t surely be this good, right?
I’ve learned that it’s okay to hear a message for a season that I may not be experiencing presently. Instead of tuning out the message because it doesn’t apply to me, I know that my God is strategic and wants to help me through the tough times, even before I get there. I have chosen to pay very close attention and to meditate on the scriptures and stories of those who have walked through the valley. I am saving the stories of my fellow friends who have gone through incredible testing and I am holding onto the things that have gotten them through. I am also guarding my heart and mind to not be consumed with fear about when it will be my turn to walk through the valley. Philippians 4:8 instructs us to keep our minds on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, anything excellent, and worthy of praise.” When thoughts and feelings that do not reflect these attributes instantly come rushing in I find that I have to take control of my mind and surrender it to the Lord, asking Him for help. He reminds me that this time of learning about trials and testing isn’t to scare or warn me about imminent trouble heading my way. It is to reveal the refinement and purpose that He has done in my life through past struggles and to equip me for whatever may come my way in the future. To think that the Lord would allow me to glean from others and to hear their stories and battles in order that my faith in Him might increase is truly beautiful.
No matter what my life looks like, if God has a truth to tell me or a lesson to teach me, I want to listen and learn. The future is uncertain to me, but as I keep my eyes on Jesus and live in obedience to His word I can be sure to experience contentment, regardless of life’s circumstances. It is perfectly fine to experience times of joy, peace, and contentment—in fact, I believe it is God’s desire for us to experience these things often. Your situation is not always a reflection of your performance. While consequences to sin are real, we serve a God who is perfectly merciful, just, gracious, right, and loving all at the same time. He gets to determine what to do with us. We have the privilege and responsibility to trust and follow Him through the good times and the bad times. There is no room for guilt when experiencing a good time in life. And when things get difficult, look back and see how the Lord has given you wisdom, support, and strength to help get you through the difficulties. I think you will be amazed to see what you will find. I am grateful for a God who generously gives good gifts to His children that often tend to be wisdom through His word and through the Testimony of other believers to strengthen and encourage us through each and every season of life.
All praise and glory and honor be to God!
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