Meditations on Contentment

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have…” (Hebrews 13:5) This verse circled around and around in my mind as I washed the lunch dishes. A few struggles, small though they really were in the grand scope of life, had surfaced and I was wrestling through what it meant to just rest… rest in what our loving Father had ordained, rest when it seemed the “ideal” would definitely be something different. “Be content…” These words sounded cold and impossible. Though in my heart I knew it was not the case, I had always viewed contentment as something I had to generate. A character quality needing cultivation, a checklist requiring marks of accomplishment. At the same time, though, I knew my own efforts would last about as long as the bubbles on the pan I was scrubbing. They may look attractive and shiny for a moment, but quickly pop and disappear into nothing (John 15:4-5). But amidst the emotions of this dishwater moment, what was I supposed to do with the aching longing in my heart? What about that funny little desire that seemed so silly and immature when voiced even to my darling husband, but which often captured my thoughts and sapped my peace? The Lord gave grace to continue dwelling on His Word. “… without covetousness; and be content… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” And then He highlighted it for me. “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” As the clean hot water poured from the faucet, the words flooded my heart in warming reassurance. Contentment, rest, peace in the sunshine or the storm… is possible, because He is near. Our ability to be content lies not in natural disposition or optimism, nor in how well we can mentally rectify the situation or even focus on the blessings of it. Rather, it lies in Jesus Christ Himself. Emmanuel, the One Who is with us. Our contentment stands upon His promise… His beautiful promise to walk beside us all the way. With such a Companion, Guide, and Friend, how can we wallow in the mire of self-pity or become unsettled when challenge befalls us? The feelings and emotions we experience are intended to draw us back into His presence. He is our peace, our rest, our reason for rejoicing. His command for contentment has not only been coupled with the grace and enabling we need, but also with the comfort of His everlasting love and compassion. The promise of His presence is sure, and it is there that we will find true and lasting contentment.