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COVID-19 How to live in uncertain times (8 - Content)

Ben Naylor, 23rd March 2020

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, Phillipians 4:11, on a background of crashing waves.

See part 1 of this series here.

I guess that not many of us are content at this time. Things are so uncertain, and there are so many needs; how could it possibly be the case that anybody might be content when we think about all that’s going on? Yet the Apostle Paul, when faced with great uncertainty and physical need (he was writing from jail, possibly awaiting his own execution), was able to say this:

‘…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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.13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.’ (Philippians 4:11-13)

It is an astonishing claim that whatever the circumstances he will be content. The question is this; is this contentment something for the super-spiritual, something that only the likes of Paul can attain, or is it possible that such contentment in trials is possible for all Christians?

Whilst it appears that such contentment is something learnt, I think we can take confidence that it is not something exclusively for the likes of Paul. For what is the means by which he attains this contentment? Through Christ who gives him strength (v13). Through Christ we too can learn this secret of Christian contentment.

I say this, not to put an extra brick in your backpack. To introduce one more burden to your life. We already have to find a way to work from home, whilst caring for the children who aren’t in school, whilst worrying about elderly family members, whilst at all times being confined to the home… and now we need to be content about it too?! That sounds like a burden to me, one more thing that we have to do…

No, for the Christian there is a great blessing, that it is possible in everything to be content through Christ. For the non-Christian there is no such comfort. For the non-Christian the only paths to contentment at this time is either to belittle the danger of COVID-19, or to place all their hope in the ability of mankind to ‘defeat the virus’. Both of which provide a shaky foundation upon which to build contentment.

Whereas, as Christians, there are so many solid reasons why we can be content. We can be content because God is sovereign, because the real enemy (not COVID-19) has been defeated, because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ… Maybe take a moment to consider the many more reasons why we can be content at this time. We have every reason to be content.

Perhaps at this time of uncertainty, we can learn that whatever the circumstances, we can be content. Surely this was how Paul learnt the secret of contentment, not by preparing for the time of trial, but by being in the trial. Over the coming months we will likely face great difficulties, perhaps greater than we ever have before. But the comfort we can take is that it is possible to be content through Christ who strengthens us.

See part 9 of this series here.

During these strange and testing times, we hope to post encouragement for you here each day. As ever, if you would like to speak with a Minister, please get in touch through our contact us page.