“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned I whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound…I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
When you’re really hoping for your circumstances to change, it’s so hard to strive for contentment. When God gives the blessing that you’ve prayed for to someone else, it’s not that we get angry that someone else is now happy; we get confused or even mad at God because it seems like He skipped us. We might find ourselves looking to heaven and crying out, “God, have I not been faithful? Did you forget about me?”
As we have been discussing Romans chapter 12, we looked at verse 15 which states, “Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.” In our last devotion, we talked about how our hearts must be rooted in joy so that we can rejoice with others and celebrate them when they receive a blessing. But where does that leave those of us who haven’t received what we’ve diligently asked God in faith for? Where do we go from here?
We don’t like to be told to wait, especially not in this instant-gratification generation. But sometimes, God just says “Wait.” For how long? No one knows except Him, but there’s more to our lives than waiting around for blessings.
Paul, who was put in prison, beaten to a pulp, and who, minus Jesus, was probably the most hated man by the enemies of God, said that he’d learned how to be content in every situation. When the blessing doesn’t come when we want it most, we can be content. When someone else gets exactly what we’ve prayed for, we can be content.
When we’re rooted in joy and we’re content no matter where we are or what we have, it doesn’t feel like a job to celebrate those around us. It doesn’t feel like we have to grin and bear it when they tell us their good news. Instead, we can say, “Thank you, Lord, that you answered their prayers, and even though I still haven’t received this from you, I still trust You.”
The moment you choose to celebrate others and rejoice with them, you are practicing contentment. You have a content spirit instead of a spirit of comparison and covetousness. Rather than being bitter because of someone else’s blessing, be content in your season, believing in faith that you will receive what you’ve asked for.
People need encouragement. They need someone to lean on and someone to throw them a party when their prayer gets answered. Let us not be jealous of God’s generosity but be patient in every situation and content in every season. And when we do finally receive what we’ve prayed for, those whom we have celebrated will joyfully celebrate us.