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 everything through him who gives me strength.
As a Christian athlete, whenever I was being tested physically, my mantra was always –
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
When I was stricken with cancer, I would recite this same verse over and over reminding myself that I, too, could overcome this new obstacle. But after several surgeries and radiation, I was seriously weakened and I began to doubt whether I had the strength to ever overcome this one. I was frustrated with my own weakness and inability to overcome.
A friend of mine was aware of my weakened and discouraged state, and decided that I could use some encouragement. He asked his friend, Chuck Swindoll, a well-known pastor and author, to give me a call and encourage me. Since I had listened to Chuck on the radio for years and admired him greatly, I was thrilled when I answered the phone and realized it was he who was calling me.
Chuck told me that he wanted to call and encourage me with a vignette that he was writing on Philippians 4:11-13. I remember immediately popping up and saying proudly to him that Philippians 4:13 was one of my favorite life verses.
He responded gently back to me and said, “Yes, Dave that is a powerful verse but your emphasis should not be on verse 13 alone but also on verses 11 and 12 that proceed that verse.”
He then shared that Paul stated that he had learned the secret of contentment no matter what his circumstances. He pointed out that Paul was under house arrest at the time. He had experienced poverty and prosperity, being filled and going hungry, having abundance and suffering need – yet in all circumstances he experienced contentment.
Chuck then shared “Contentment is possible no matter how dire your circumstances. The secret to Paul’s contentment was knowing Christ’s strength was perfected in his weakness.” He then quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul wrote:
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10
When I considered that Christ’s strength was perfected in my weakness – my own inability to overcome – I experienced contentment because I knew I could trust Him no matter how dire my circumstances – no matter how weak I am.
What is the secret of contentment even through the trials of life? Focus on Jesus not your circumstances.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
On the journey with you,