Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Keeping Contentment in Times of Want

on October 13, 2014

King David’s via photopin cc

How can we be content when our circumstances are less than ideal? It is something that Christians around the world must learn to deal with, in varying degrees and settings. People are struggling. People are suffering. Some are ill. Some are dealing with the pains of divorce, abandonment and poverty. There are so many reasons to complain. There are so many opportunities to be discontent. In this fallen world, we face many trials and tribulations, and yet we are called to keep contentment in our hearts and on our tongues.

So can we keep contentment in times of want? The problem is in the question. You see, God’s people should never be in a time of “want”. That may sound like a strange statement, but allow me to explain. Before I do, I want to make it clear that I take no part in the health, wealth and prosperity movement or doctrine. I do not believe God promises us wealth or health on earth. The blood of fallen martyrs can attest to the fact that sometimes God’s people are allowed and even called to suffer. We are not exempt from pain, illness or persecution as believers. So I reject any such claims made by false teachers who tell their people what their ears long to hear. Now to the problem with the word “want”. One of the promises we have in God’s Word is that He tells us that those who love and fear the Lord God of the Bible shall never “want”. Take a look at the following verse:

O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” Psalm 34:9-10

The Hebrew word for “want” in this verse is “machcowr” which means, “a need, a thing needed, poverty or lack.” In Psalm 34 we see that the Lord promises that those who fear (honor, respect, reverence, love) Him will never experience this type of want. They shall not be lacking in those things that they truly need. They shall be cared for in one way or another by the Lord. The scripture goes on to explain that young lions do suffer and lack, but those that seek the Lord will not lack in any good thing. The Lord will give them exactly what they need when they need it. 

What about Christians in poverty? Well, how is poverty defined? Each state in the USA has it’s own monetary guideline for their people’s poverty level. Yet compare any of those values with the poverty levels in the third world countries and we see that those we consider “poor” here would be considered quite wealthy elsewhere. A family may live in a small but comfortable dwelling, own a car, have enough food on the table, etc. and still be considered in poverty here, and yet there are people living in complete squalor around the world. They have make-shift homes with dirt floors. They have no access to clean water and no proper sanitation systems. They starve. Who is in poverty?

We need to be very careful when we complain about our lack or want. God said His children would not experience true poverty. Does that mean we’ll have everything we want? No. Will we all experience wealth and abundance materially on earth? No. We are not promised these things. We are promised that God will provide what we need. That’s God’s promise. Our side of that is to put on and keep contentment. Our calling is to be grateful, setting aside selfishness and discontent.

On the other hand, there are Christians who are suffering, who have little on their plates even this night, and whom seem to be in great want. What about those brothers and sisters around the world who are struggling with their needs? We need to remember the inspired words of Paul. He knew what suffering was about, and yet he kept contentment in his heart and mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. 4:11-13

Paul knew that God would provide what He needed. He trusted the Lord. Sometimes God provided through the love and support of the saints. There’s nothing wrong with that. We see brothers and sisters in the Lord helping each other throughout scripture. God provides in amazing ways and He ALWAYS provides what we need when we need it. We need to have the heart of Paul. We need to stop saying we are in “want” of this or that. We are in want of NOTHING if we are in Christ Jesus, because He has and is giving us EVERYTHING that we need to do what He has called us to do.

If you are suffering tonight, take comfort in God’s promises. His character is unchanging and He keeps His Word. Trust in Him. He will provide what you need. Obey His Word and follow the leading of the Spirit. Work hard, be diligent and wise, and leave the rest in His capable hands. God bless!

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