The Most Wonderful Time of the Year | Contentment | Hardships
For the sake of Christ I am content with…hardships…For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinth. 12:10
Whoa! That’s going a little too far, Paul. It’s one thing to tolerate hardships. Most of us can manage a white-knuckle, cry into our pillows, pop-a-pill-til-it’s-over endurance, but is it possible to be content in the middle of crisis? We might grit our teeth and try not to complain, but how is it possible to be content when our name is on the layoff list? When the tornado hits our house? When everyone is talking about us and none of it is good? Paul says he could be content for the sake of Christ. He was able to peek above the trouble and see God at work. He realized that his weakness only magnified the strength of Christ.
In order to understand Paul’s perspective, we need to back up a few verses. He had a major problem that he had begged God to take away. It was that ONE THING that made everything else harder. You’ve got one. Maybe it’s singleness. Debt. A physical or mental handicap. Please, God. If that was just gone, I could handle the rest. And God says no. Instead, He offers grace to deal with it so that it doesn’t sink your boat (v. 9). And that grace builds strength, dignity, perseverance, and the ability to be content even if things never change. God starts at our place of greatest weakness and builds a testimony. When we choose contentment instead of bitterness, restlessness, or anger, we find to our surprise that we’ve never felt stronger.
Final Thought: How well do you endure hardships? What if you took it up a notch and chose contentment instead?
Prayer: Father, I certainly don’t feel contented when troubles come. But my anger and frustration don’t help any. I want to respond differently when hardships happen. Help me learn to draw on your strength when I feel weak. In Jesus’ name, Amen.