I am a fairly dedicated blog reader. I have a couple of blogs that I check for updates regularly, and it just so happens that those blogs are the ones that always make me cry.
I’ll find myself sitting in my office with tears running down my face as I read of the adventurous, yet heartbreaking lives that so many of these Christ followers lead, and it causes me to ask a few questions of myself. Wherever God has me living out my life as His hands and feet, will I react as they do? When tragedy or difficult times occur, will I know that He alone is sufficient? That His plans are sovereign? That He is trustworthy? That He will give me the grace and strength that I need to continue? That He loves the people I love with a far bigger and far more perfect love than I ever could?
I hope and pray that this will be true of me. And that it is true of me now. Because I know these things, and I believe them with all of my heart, and have seen evidence of them in my life in these 25 years (almost 26) that I’ve lived. But one day, when I am faced with great tragedy, I sometimes find myself wondering how I will react.
I have yet to experience great heartbreak in this life. But I know it is coming, and I believe that He is preparing me for when it does come. Over the past few months, I have been studying the book of Philippians with my discipleship group. This morning, as we were concluding our study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we focused primarily on chapter 4, verses 11-13.
“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 all this through Him who gives me strength.”
If anyone understood what it means to live a life of hardship, it was Paul. Shipwrecked and imprisoned multiple times, beaten, tortured, rejected. He had experienced the worst, but had the privilege of seeing God move in mighty ways in the midst of his suffering. So regardless of his circumstances, he chose to remain content. Paul brings hope to my future heartbreak. If Paul can do it, anyone can. Because the ONLY reason Paul was able to be content in the midst of all that, was because of verse 13.
“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
This isn’t just a verse for the apathetic high school athlete who has to begrudgingly choose a life verse on Senior Night. This isn’t just something to be plastered on the backs of jerseys. This is power. This is admission of weakness. This is total dependency upon a totally dependable God. And this is attainable. I’ve seen it in the blogs I read. I’ve seen it in friends who have lived through tragedy. And I know He will give me that same strength in my weakness. When I am helplessly holding that precious little boy in my arms who has breathed his last breath, as Renee did. When I am desperate, longing to hold once more that baby girl I have grown to love as my own after she has been taken from me, as Katie was. And when He shows me that His grace is sufficient in my own personal heartbreak, whatever it may be, as I know He will, I pray that I can be counted as a woman who has learned to be content. Dependent. Hopeful. Faithful.
One day you may find yourself reading a devastating blog from me that was written from the other side of the world. But for now, I pray that you are encouraged to learn what it means to be content in your circumstances. Because one day I’m going to need you to remind me of this blog, and encourage me to keep going. For His renown.