Some of you know what I've been going through this past month. If you don't, just know that it's been the hardest month of my life for more than one reason. I've never felt like this or had my faith tested so much. Well, during my bible studies recently, God has been showing me that even though it's good to pray for Him to fix this and trust that He will, I need to learn to be content with having just Him in the mean time. I want to share some of my bible study notes on this subject in hopes that it will help you too. All of the verses I'm posting are from the New American Standard Bible.
We all know the verse "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."...but yesterday I read it in context, and this is what Paul was actually saying:
"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." -Phillipians 4:11-13
He wasn't just saying that he can do anything because he has Christ (although that is true to); he was saying that he can be content and survive in any circumstance because he has Christ! By "I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me", he was actually saying "I can survive any circumstance through Christ who strengthens me." This gives me so much hope that I can do the same, while being content and trusting in God. No matter what I have or don't have, I will be okay because I have Him. Now, of course, this doesn't mean that we can't be sad when something goes wrong. Even Jesus got sad. Rather, it means that we can't worry, question God, or rely on other things/people to give us fulfillment.
After reading this, I was sure that God was telling me to pray for what I want, but to be content in the mean time without it- becaue I still have Him, and only He can fulfill me. So, I knew that I needed to do this, but I didn't know how. God revealed to me that for starters, I didn't need to be thinking and praying about my problem 24/7. He let me know that I could just pray about it at the beginning of the day and then let it go- trusting that just because it's not on my mind doen't mean that He forgot. He's still taking care of it all day. So, every morning, I started praying about it first thing, and then letting it go for the rest of the day. Still though, I felt like I was just sitting around waiting for Him to answer me and make things good again instead of being content until He did. I prayed a very honest prayer, saying that I needed help to be content because I had no idea how. That's when He led me to read 1 Timothy, and this is what I found:
In chapter 6, Paul was calling out the people who were using Christianity as a way of trying to get rich. They thought God would give them Eartly abundance if they prayed for it. He responded by saying this: "Godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and detructoin. For the love of money is root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many greifs." -1 Timothy 6:6-10
Now, my desire isn't for money, it's for a person. Still though, God used this verse to confirm that He definitely IS telling me to be content with what I have until He chooses to give me more. I still didn't know how though, until I read on and saw this:
"Flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness." -1 Timothy 6:11
This is how we become content- by fixing our focus on these things intead of on what we want in this world! Again, this doesn't mean that we can't pray for what we want if we have good intentions- but it means that we can't rely on those things as our hope. We instead must put our focus on living right, loving, having faith, being gentle, and persevering through trial. If you focus on doing things related to that, you will be content and not have time to focus on what you don't have!
Lastly, I read 1 Timothy 6:17, which says "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." This told me that God DOES give us extra stuff that we ask for, but we just can't fix our hope on that. We need to seek Him first and let Him give us the extras at the right time. Jut like Matthew 6:33 when Jesus says "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."