I own a 2007 Nissan Altima. I have had it a couple of years because we needed a second car to get us to the places we need to go. My primary car is a 2005 Toyota Corolla. I bought it new in 2005 and have never had an issue with it. Occasionally, we look at the website for a new car thinking that soon we will likely need to replace the old one, but have always postponed the decision. Recently the Altima has started to act up. It has automatic windows (one of which has never worked) and one night two of the windows spontaneously put themselves down (including the broken one). We had an awful time trying to get the broken one back up as it doesn’t work. But thank God for duct tape! We started to wonder if now is the time to look for a new car. We looked over the new Corollas online and even planned to go see some in person. But we didn’t. The issue is that because of our current financial priorities, we can’t afford a car payment right now. And I knew that if we went, we would buy. Instead, we presented the situation to the Lord and have asked Him to keep these cars working until our commitments are completed.
God reminded me of Paul’s statements about contentment in Phil chapter 4:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (11-13 NKJV)
“I am not saying this because I am in need, 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.” (11-13 NIV)
I looked this up in both versions to understand verse 13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I have often used that verse for strength in difficult circumstances, but never really connected it to contentment. Here Paul tell us that I can be content because Christ gives me strength. Usually I am begging God to change my circumstances and fighting against them. I pray for strength to endure. I don’t generally pray for strength to be content in it.
God most certainly has the power to change my circumstances. But perhaps He delays for a reason. How would my perspective change if I asked Him for the strength to be content? How then could He use me in this present situation? The money that I am saving from not having a car payment I plan to use to God’s glory. But what about everyday things? What if I were content at my job? What if when that guy pulls out in front of me on Salisbury Road and then proceeds to drive 48km/hr, I take this extra time that I have to pray for him instead of curse him? Maybe God put him there for a reason.
Where do I need strength today to be content? This is the place and the day that God has given to me. There is a reason. God is always at work. If perhaps I could get my mind off of all the ways I am unsatisfied, God might be able to start to use me. God promises to supply all my needs. I don’t need to be anxious about anything. So today I ask for strength to be content exactly where I am. I will rejoice in the Lord, my heart will be thankful and I will be willing to be used for His glory. Let His will be done!