“The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” (Proverbs 19:23 ESV)
We need to be happy for what we have.
This is a Biblical concept, for one thing. The above proverb outlines this for us. Notice it doesn’t say that a trouble-free life leads to satisfaction, and neither does it say that being rich or having a good job will gives us that rest we crave. Rather, when we fear the Lord and make Him our focus, we will be satisfied.
So often in ministry we are corresponding with very needy people. Many of these people have significant need in their lives. It is interesting, however, to note that only some of these people are unhappy. Most of them understand the truth of Proverbs 19:23: When we make God our focus, when we look to Him in everything, it doesn’t matter what our circumstances are, we have satisfaction.
It had been a long day already, this first day out on our trip west. After spending an extra 2.5 hours in a parking lot waiting for someone to come and move their car from in front of our trailer (See Forgive? But I Wouldn’t Do Anything Live … That!), we finally found ourselves back on the road. That road, however, appeared to be frozen. I was already very uptight about losing those 2.5 hours: Would we make it to the campground before dark so that we would have light enough to set up the trailer?
There was absolutely nothing that I could do about the situation, however. Google Maps indicated the slowdown was only 2 kilometres long, and in the end, they were right. Unfortunately it took us an entire hour to traverse those 2 kilometres to arrive at the source of the problem: A burned-out transport truck. The firefighters were, in fact, still working on putting out the flames, and my heart jumped to my throat when I realized that the worst part of the burn was the cab, where the driver would have been. Was that the reason for the ambulance on scene?
I immediately began praying for the driver of that truck. It was amazing, but after just a few seconds of unselfish prayer, the weight of my own problems just up and vanished. I found myself content with my own situation. I realized that no matter what I had going on in my life, there were those who were in far more need of help than me. Besides, I had God with me at all times, and He was — and is — all I will ever need.
No matter what we are going through, there are some truths that we must keep in mind.
First of all, what if we spent less time complaining and more time praising God for His blessings? Yes, I realize that it might be hard to see the blessings amidst the problems; yet no matter what we are going through, God’s blessings still abound, and meditating on these will go a long ways towards changing our attitude towards our problems. After all, we are told: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NKJV). Remember that if the good Lord, in His wisdom, put this command in the Bible, it was for a very good reason!
Next, remember that what you are going through, no matter how big, is not too big for God to carry you through. God has promised a “way out” (See 1 Corinthians 10:13); but this only comes by strict reliance on Him. The apostle Paul, when telling about significant trials that he underwent, went so far as to say, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God…On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10 NIV). Give your problems to Him. Surrender them, and remember that sometimes God is allowing these things to happen in order to increase your reliance upon Him!
Finally, going back to the burned-out transport truck, what if we stopped praying so fervently for our own problems, and instead, focused our prayers on other people and their situations? I can tell you from personal experience that this results in total peace of heart about our own problems! The super thing about God is that when we stop worrying about ourselves and start worrying about others, He usually takes care of our own problems! I’ve heard numerous stories about how this person or that began praying for someone else instead of for themselves, and only when their focus was no longer on their own needs, those needs — even the significant ones — were met!
So what does all of this have to do with satisfaction in life?
Just this: Focusing on our problems makes us unhappy. It robs us of our joy and satisfaction. When we turn our focus, however, onto God’s provision and His blessings, when we surrender our own needs to Him and begin to pray for others instead, our needs will seem more trivial; and many times, they will also be met! This clears our hearts for true satisfaction in life, that satisfaction that comes from fixing our eyes upon Jesus.
I never learned what happened to the driver of that transport truck, but I thank God for this vital lesson in being content.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries