“A CHRISTIAN COMES TO THIS CONTENTMENT NOT BY MAKING UP THE WANTS OF HIS CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT BY THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK OF HIS CIRCUMSTANCES.”
“This is the way of contentment. There are these circumstances that I am in, with many wants: I want this and the other comfort-well, how shall I come to be satisfied and content? A carnal heart thinks, I must have my wants made up or else it is impossible that I should be content. But a gracious heart says, ‘What is the duty of the circumstances God has put me into? Indeed, my circumstances have changed, I was not long since in a prosperous state, but God has changed my circumstances.”
I was not long since in a prosperous state:
This is me. I am actually experiencing what Burroughs is talking about in the above passage. Not long ago, merely 2 weeks, I was in a ‘prosperous’ state—–My husband was working, my son was in his school program, the sun was shining, I was spending my days seeking God and rejoicing in Him, we had health insurance, we had food, clothes, shelter, all things essential for life here on earth. What was more, I had the presence of God—-the presence of Christ dwelling in my heart–and I was content. I was joyful. I was happy. There was nothing more that I could want/need. I had EVERYTHING I ever needed/wanted! YAY!
Even though I am eternally grateful for that blessed state I was in for about a week—-I knew it wouldn’t last. I knew that it was only a time of rest—of strengthening—for what was coming. As much I wanted to believe that nothing -bad- would happen, I knew that life was never a fairytale rainbow with no problems, pains, and sufferings. It was only a matter of time!! And I remember talking to my counselor about it specifically, how I knew that it wouldn’t stay perfect forever, so what was I to do when things started changing again??
We discussed how it will be a matter of accepting His will in the little and big things that come my way, and giving thanks always, and keeping my eyes on Jesus—who alone is my source of Life!
So when my husband quit his job and we lost our insurance and all of a sudden the house was full of my family, I wasn’t getting any time alone, my son had his tonsils out, and my husband took a job that required traveling again, I knew this was the time I was preparing for!!!
Here I am, in this time.
The Lord has “changed my circumstances”.
I am being tried, like Joseph, by the Word of the Lord (ps. 105:19). The word which he gave me over the past months—the Word that He Alone is Sufficient to meet my every need.
He is taking this truth, and working it into my heart, that I may experience it. He has chosen me to know and believe and understand that He alone is God (Is. 43:10).
He is making the truth REAL in my heart and life. He wants Christ to be my All in All!
WHAT IS THE DUTY OF MY CIRCUMSTANCES?
With a gracious heart, I am asking the Lord what my duty is in these circumstances—-in the changes that have ensued. And He has shown me what is to come of this time:
- He is leading me more deeply into the love of Christ
- He is leading me to experience true contentment in Christ
- He is pruning and refining me to bear more fruit
- He is revealing hidden idols that I may repent
- He is teaching me to trust and depend on Him more fully
And these are my duties—–
- it is my duty to rest in His love!
- It is my duty to turn to Jesus in all of my pain and sorrow and grief, and bring all of my emotions to Him first, and seek comfort in His love and in His word.
- It is my duty to allow God to cut off whatever is unprofitable, that the fruit He is bearing through me may be more!
- I am to submit and surrender to His will in all things and trust in His mercy and His goodness!
- It is my duty to allow His Spirit full access to my heart to expose any hidden idols and then I am to rely on His spirit working in me to empower me to turn from them unto the living God!
- I am to put all of my faith, trust, and hope in Him, for He is God alone. He knows what is best for me and my family, and He will work all things for the good!
- And in my duties, I will come to know and believe and understand that He is God alone!!!
In His sovereignty, God knows how to lead me into experiences and situations and circumstances which are the most calculated to bring me to where the Lord is all and in all!!!! He knows what storms will expose the hidden mud in my heart—-He knows which things I am blindly idolizing and secretly relying on instead of Him.
“There are many that will say today ‘yes, that is right, Christ is all, and in all’, and tomorrow morning, when you touch them upon some trifling thing where their preferences are involved, you find that Christ is not all, and in all. We have to come to it through experience.” T.Austin Sparks
WOW that is true. And I don’t want to blindly walk through life thinking Christ is my everything, and then suddenly when disaster strikes by way of losing something that I thought I needed to be content, my life is ‘over’. I want Christ to truly be my all in all, and for His spirit and presence to be what is in me and all of me!
It is worth the trial and afflictions, and the losing of what we have held so dear, to experience the God of the universe as the only thing that we can actually cling to, hope in, and trust. He is faithful every time.
I pray we all seek to know, with a gracious heart, what is our duty in the times of change, of trial and affliction—that we may be content in what we have right now, instead of looking off to what things we think we need to make up our difficult situation, to make up what we have lost!