The Winter of Our Content

Michael Beck

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

Certain seasons of life contain little or nothing to make us naturally happy. The bleak, barren landscape of our situation would pull us down into a heaviness of spirit. But asking why the sky has to be so grey gets us nowhere. Believing we alone live in want while others are enjoying rapturous pleasure and prosperity is a falsehood that only increases misery.

Health of mind and spirit depend on a proper outlook, not only of our life, but of life in general. Depression is spawned and fueled by faulty thinking that takes hold of our spirit and will not let go. To demand that our outward situation change before we can be happy is to set ourselves up for perpetual unhappiness. Life cannot be ordered up and served to our liking. It comes at us, warts and all; it shows up at our door, without asking us permission. Bemoaning its unpleasant presence is a losing proposition. The only question is whether we will let it ruin our mood; or, we will let God order our thoughts so our joy and peace can be valiantly maintained.

Christ would give us the strength to live joyously in and triumphantly through any season of life. Paul endured many a brutal “winter”, but he was able to say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) He made a decision that he was going to get something good from every “bad” storm or season that was upon him. He was no longer living for the idol of his own happiness; he was living to know and gain Christ. And so, all of his life, became a classroom to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Lord. “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.” (Phil. 4:12)

We can’t choose what the weather will be like today. We can’t make the seasons we don’t like disappear. But we can decide that our “winters” will not be filled with discontent. Instead of blaming God for the weather, let us look to Him for the strength we need to rejoice always and be content even in the dreariest of days. He would be the cause of our greatest joy. The season will change, but when it does, what will we have gotten out of it? Hopefully, a greater experiencing of our Lord, who gave us His outlook and uplook, and strengthened us in His joy and peace that is not dependent on circumstances.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.