11 Not that I peak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.(KJV)
11 Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.(MSG)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content.(TLV)
A warm quilt, the smell of fresh baked goods wafting through the air, a comforting touch, a kind word, all these and others that give us a sense of comfort and contentment.
Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”, ‘there’s no place like home.
I have fond memories of my childhood and I refer to them often, especially of times when I would go to my maternal grandmother and grandfather’s place. I am sure that children of today would find it like going to back to the stone age. You see, there was no television, computers, or anything electronic, except for a floor standing radio. It was this radio that my grandfather would use while sitting in a chair listening to his’ favourite preachers and news shows.
Yet, I can say there was something special about this place, it was a place where the Word of God was always discussed, and never hidden behind a pile of other books on a shelf. This is where I was taught to sing gospel songs that my grandfather would teach us while he played the guitar which he taught himself.
At my home church, outside stood a row of tall poplar trees. No inside plumbing, no fancy choirs or orchestra. Just my grandfather playing that guitar. It was a place where the children were always part of the service by being called upon to sing a song or two that we had learned through my grandfather.
The pastor was not from some high knowledge Bible school. He was just a simple man who farmed, but was willing when asked to fill the role of pastor. He was a man that gave me the encouragement to study the Bible. Sometimes he would ask if it was alright for me to spend an afternoon with him at his home. While there he would allow to me use what little reference books he had. Then everyone once in awhile would ask me to speak probably more like some would call a testimony.
These are just a few things that I go to when my spirit is feeling lonely, confused, discouraged, and even at times discontent.
I have been plagued in years past of the spirit of discontent. While in active ministry, sometimes I would be asked by a pastor to come and help out to build his congregation. I usually would go and help with one proviso that I would only stay six months, then move on.
During the times that I was not helping out a pastor I would travel as an evangelist, and gospel singer and musician.
I didn’t have any roots anywhere for any length of time due to the fact that I could not conquer this thing called, discontent.
With facing certain circumstances, I finally left active ministry. I was already living in western Canada and I made a move to a small city where I still reside. I cut off all ties to my former active ministry. I started fresh, made new friends, and also became active in certain community events. One was the local fair and exhibition.
During this time I wasn’t able to gather any books for study of the Scriptures. Yes, once in awhile I would open the Bible, it wasn’t that I didn’t dwell on the Scriptures being there were embedded in my memory never to be erased.
My best friend stopped one day at my apartment that I was living in at the time. He spoke to me about a mobile trailer that was up for sale and asked if I would be interested in it. It sounded far better than my current place of living. Around town the apartment building probably had the lowest rating of all places to live.
It was arranged for me to go look at the trailer, meet the owner, and then discuss the arrangement to buy it. The owner discussed that he was open to rent – to- own the home. I spoke up and told him I would take it. It felt like a palace compared to my apartment. I kept saying to my best friend that it was so large. I didn’t have my furniture or things to bring with me. It had two bedrooms, one bedroom converted to a laundry room, and also an add-on for extra space.
It was August 1997 when I finally was given the keys. I can remember how excited I was to actually say I owned something worth more that just a couple of hundred dollars. With excitement I called my mother and told her of the news. She said something to me that to this day I still can hear her voice telling me, “whatever you do, don’t get itchy feet and run”.
Well it coming up to August 2017 and I am still living in that mobile trailer. I have made it my own over the years with many changes to the structure. The place I thought I could never fill, is now overflowing and looking for more storage place.
The secret for me staying going on twenty years is that like the Apostle Paul is learning to be content in every circumstance.
Things were happening during this time. At one point I was admitted to the local hospital. The physician told me I had a blood clot in my left leg. I will honestly admit I was terrified. I began to imagine that I would die. Or I would have to leave my home and live in a nursing home. Well, unlike Job, the things I feared did not happen.
I found a peace while in the hospital and one that I would have with several other hospital stays over the years.
One such stay was to find help with severe depression and battling the idea of suicide. My psychiatrist was excellent. I kept to myself for quite a long time, barely speaking to others that were there were there own personal battles within themselves. Finally, something began to happen within me, that peace I felt from the stay battling that blood clot, came over me again and I began to feel once again, contentment.
It has been that contentment that has kept me stable through all matters of circumstances, whether physical, spiritual, and even mentally. Even when I was diagnosed being bi-polar. I am content knowing that I will be on blood thinners and other meds the rest of my life. I do not look at this as a punishment, but rather a blessing within the storm.
2016 in the United States of America brought out the circumstances where the feelings of the nation was nothing less than total discontentment. The fear was real, tangible, you could hear discontentment in the voters about their jobs, health care, their family and their children. They wanted a change because they felt that the politicians had not done their job in creating a better environment and future for them. It was this discontentment that caused them to vote for Donald J. Trump when they went to the polls.
I can’t help but wonder that in four years if that discontentment has been conquered or will it still persist.
The Apostle Paul learned how to be content even when facing persecution, thrown in jail and at the end of his’ life, laying his head on the chopping block.
Discontentment is not logical, or wise. It leads a person to make decisions, come to conclusions that leads to more discontentment. They are never at peace within themselves or those or things that surround them.
Peace comes when we give all our fears, discontentment, and worries over to the Lord. Like the hymn we sang in church, “leave it there, leave it there, take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. If you trust and never doubt God will surely bring you out. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there”.