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Finding Contentment When Life is Hard

 

Black and white photograph of snowcapped mountain pass


Do you find it easy to be content - especially when life is hard?  What are those things in life that threaten your contentment?  What does it mean to truly be content?  Is there a secret to contentment?

contentment:  a state of happiness or satisfaction

We will be looking to God and His Word today to find the answers to these questions.

What does the Bible say about contentment?

Biblical contentment is the same as the contentment the world seeks after as far as the definition goes, but there is a difference...  the Source of happiness and satisfaction.

So what is the Believer's true source of happiness and satisfaction?

The great theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.”

Satisfaction, contentment and joy are synonymous in the Christian life.  

Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
Psalm 43:4

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy 
your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; 
and you shall be like a watered garden, 
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:11

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; 
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
Psalm 17:15

When we have a true understanding of Biblical contentment and where our source of true happiness and satisfaction come from, we will find contentment, even in times of trouble.

How do you find contentment in your life with God?

If we are being honest, life with God is not easy.  I can remember a Pastor saying, "Jesus never said life was going to be easy!"

Many of us I'm sure have fallen pray to the idea that because we are Christians, nothing bad will happen to us or things won't be tough, but that is losing sight of what it means to do life WITH God.  We may not be promised an easy life, but we ARE promised contentment in the midst of all that goes with life.  Yet, do we apprehend it?

Finding Contentment in the Will of God

This can be especially difficult when life becomes difficult or there are a series of events that have taken their toll on us, some maybe even catastrophic.  We may question is this really God's will for me?  Why would He not answer my cries for help?  Why is He not getting me out of this bad situation?

These questions alone create discontentment with the will of God.  Are we to beat ourselves up for asking these questions?  No.  It's a natural human response to trials and tribulations.  But what we should do when asking those questions is go to God's Word and His promises for the answers.  It is there that we will find contentment as we see His past faithfulness to the Christian characters of the Bible and can know that those same promises are true for us today.

Finding Contentment in Obedience

Let's face it, if we are being honest, obedience to the Lord can be hard.  It's a constant daily - hourly really, struggle to obey.  

At the center of our disobedience, is wanting to be satisfied in our own selfish desires rather than satisfied in obeying the Lord.  Yet are we really happy when we are disobedient?  On the contrary, deep down we are unhappy with our sin, as our minds and heart are at war with each other, one wanting to follow the Lord and the other wanting to follow self.

So why then are we so discontent in our obedience?  Because we will never find true happiness or satisfaction in ourselves.  Despite all the Instagram posts and meme's that essentially say "Your the only one that can make yourself happy", we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that only God can make us happy and fill us with true contentment.

What is the Secret to Contentment when Life is Hard?

Just to be clear, when life is hard, no one is expecting any of us to be happy or satisfied about the trials themselves.  In hindsight, yes, maybe, as we can see the why behind the hardship and thank God for it, but in the moment, it is okay to feel dissatisfied and unhappy about the situation.

So then if that is the case, how can we possibly find contentment when life is hard, uncertain, scary?  What IS the secret?

The Secret to Contentment, especially when life is hard, is to focus on the Lord - as Sovereign, As Savior,  and as the ALL sufficient One.

As Christians we know that God is the supreme authority and in control of all things.  But do we truly know this with our hearts.  Discontentment would say we aren't living in this reality.

Contentment comes from resting in God's will for your life, His perfect plan that He ordained before the worlds began.  

What we may see as a terrible situation in our lives, we know that it is good because the Lord has ordained it for His good purposes.  

We do not know the mind of God.  And although we may not understand why our marriage was allowed to end despite every effort on our part to save it in obedience to the Lord or why we received a scary diagnosis or why we lost our livelihood despite years of hard work or why our child walked away from the faith after raising him/her in the Lord, we can remember God's goodness and trust Him to redeem the situation for ourselves and maybe even for the benefit of someone else.  

We can find contentment in the goodness of God in times of trouble.

Jesus salvation to us is not just limited to the cross, but He is our Savior every minute of every day.  An ever present help in times of trouble.  We can be content in the knowledge that He is our Lord and Savior, it's not just a title, it's a loving relationship that is eternal.

Our contentment must be found in the ALL sufficiency of God.  He has made Himself to be our satisfaction in ALL things.  We see account after account in the Bible of His desire to be with His children every step of the way and to provide ALL that they needed, especially when times are hard.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:10-13

When we shift our focus off of our problems and place them squarely on our Sovereign Lord and Savior, we will experience His all sufficiency and there we will find contentment when life is hard.

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Comments

  1. yes, focus makes all the difference, doesn't it? when we fix our eyes on Him, our perspective shifts for sure!

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    1. Hi Mariel, Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! :-)

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  2. Trusting His ways, always, even in the hard! His ways are not our ways, and it can me hard to grasp that, and then feel that discontentment. Yet, He has taught us how to be content while here in this place for this time until we get home again!

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    1. Hi Lynn, Thanks so much for adding to the conversation here. I appreciate it! :-)

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  3. This is one of those faith lessons that we keep working on all our lives, I think. Knowing that God's plans are for my good and that he knows the end from the beginning helps me to be content when things are hard or not going the way I had expected.

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    1. Hi Kym, Indeed it is. That has been a constant theme for me of late, remember God's goodness, remember God's goodness and it surely does help.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate it!

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  4. Thank you for the word of God that encourage me to go through in times of uncertain time and also to be content. Only God the True source of contentment not in this world can gave us contentment. Amen!

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    1. You are very welcome! Praising God that you found encouragement for times of uncertainty.

      Indeed and Amen!

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

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