Finding Contentment in Faith

Finding Contentment in Faith

I had something of an epiphany. I’ve realized it before, but for some reason, today it stuck with me. Reading some of David’s Psalms (today it was Ps. 22) you see what almost seems like someone very confused or unsure of what he really means. In the very first verse, he asks God, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (NASB95)

Ever felt that way?

Wrestling with Doubt and Faith

All the way through verse 20 he very poetically describes the significance of his woes in a variety of manner, often pleading with God to respond. Then suddenly, in verse 21 he begins to plea again, but then adds, “From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.” (NASB95) He starts off twice saying that God is not answering his prayers, then says that in the middle of danger, “You answer me.” Wait, what? Are you talking about the same God? Verse 22 begins David’s proclamation that he will share God’s goodness. In verse 24 he goes so far as to say, “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.” (NASB95) He continues on this way for another seven verses.

What struck me this morning about this Psalm is that in reality, in sounds like so many of our lives. Think about it. We as Christians say we love God and trust Him. We even pray for His assistance now and again at least. Yes, some people fall away from faith after unanswered prayers, but for the rest of us, it leaves a problem. In church, we might put on a brave face or even ask for prayer, but we never hint at any doubt. And indeed, many never really doubt God. We hold to His sovereignty and our salvation. But we wonder, “You can fix this, why won’t you?” or, “I know you have me, which means you have this, but I don’t see anything happening, please let me in on the plan.” I know I’m not the only one that’s asked these things of God. In some of church culture, we are encouraged whether directly or indirectly to doubt ourselves or our faith. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Is God punishing me?” or, “What do I have to do to earn His favor?”

Lessons from Paul’s Thorn

Paul had a situation very much like us. In 2 Cor. 12:7-10 we read about the famous thorn in Paul’s side. He believes that God has allowed whatever this thorn is, to be a messenger from Satan to keep him humble. He asked God three times to take it away and God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (Verse 9, NASB95) Paul finishes this comment with verse 10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Therefore I am well content. What, really? God tells him that power is perfected in weakness. But what does that mean? Much like his self-flagellation at the end of Romans 7, where he says that he can’t ever do the right thing even though he wants to, he is talking of a man of two natures. There is the spiritual man that wants to be in line with God, and the fleshly man that wants his own way. We all battle this. We all have our sneaky fleshly desires that we may be fulfilling without even realizing it. I remember when I was at my heaviest weight. When I finally got sick of being so fat, I started on this herbal weight loss supplement. When I noticed it was working, I was starting my break at work. I went to the candy machine and pulled out a dollar bill. Then I suddenly realized, “I’m not hungry.” Our flesh is like that sometimes. We need to admit our weakness to let him be strong for us. Much of Romans 8 is about how the Holy Spirit will work in our lives. Verse 26 says that He will intercede in prayer for us with utterances and groanings. We’re told that the Spirit knows our spirit and God’s. How much better can that be than our fumbling for words?

The Gentle Invitation to Vulnerability

As a pastor friend of mine likes to say, “God is a gentleman, He will never force himself on you.” That means that like Paul, we have to learn to be vulnerable. That’s scary. And, some of us, like Paul, need something in our lives to help keep us humble enough to allow for that vulnerability. I just want to encourage you today; I’ve found contentment and so can you. I’ve helped a number of counselees on this journey and told the story of my journey from angst to contentment in my book, Blessed Brokenness. He wants peace and contentment for you and is the only true way to find either one.

You can go here if you’re interested in learning more about my counseling ministry.

And you can go here if you want to buy the Ebook of Blessed Brokeness directly from me.

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