“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
There is so much pertaining to our lives that we don’t have control over. Our life unfolds a certain way different from others. We can be glad we haven’t had the hard way some have had, and wish we had the blessed life we see others experiencing.
Scripture calls us to be content with such things as we have. Does God expect us to be content with “what we have” even when we don’t like what we have? Yes. But such will require a supernatural portion of joy in our soul.
There is a difference between joy and happiness. We become happy when circumstances are to our liking. But because so much happens that is less than our ideal, our happiness is fleeting. The joy of the Lord, however, is not dependent on our present situation. God calls us to “rejoice always.” Why? Because we have this promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God wants His abiding presence in our life to keep us joyful despite our circumstances. “… In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Our life can endure unhappiness, but it cannot survive without joy. God’s joy is our soul’s buffer when life is hard or unhappy. It is there to keep us singing when sorrow would overtake us. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
We might prefer that God, by His divine power, would change the landscape of our life so as to make us happy. But His way more often is to try us in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, to see if we can still be joyful simply in having Him, despite whatever else we have or don’t have. May we always be “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Col. 1:11).