February 18, 2014
I have been rich and I have been poor. I have been well fed and hungry. I have been happy and sad, surrounded by many and completely alone. I have lounged on the beach and sat in jail. The key to handling these situations, the positive ones as well as the challenging ones is learning the secret of being content in any situation.
Many of my friends have experienced, or continue to experience, severe financial loss due to the current economic climate. Stock market woes … plummeting investment values … disappearing retirement funds … devastating divorce … or acute injury. Even without job loss, this downhill slide and the ever-growing uncertainty and instability of our society can really be frightening. Add in job loss or a significant health issue (coincidental or a result of the stress) and this climate can be devastating … but it doesn’t have to be.
In today’s scripture, the apostle Paul tells us that he has experienced both riches and poverty, but that he has reached a point where his joy and his well-being don’t depend on his job security, bank account, or any of his external circumstances. No matter what he is going through, he knows that God will give him the strength to make it through to the end. His peace comes from his internal circumstances and functioning … namely the maturity of his relationship with God.
The Incredible News: God has done and will continue to do the same for you.
As human beings, we all have a tendency to place our confidence in things we can see or control around us. Looking at a solid investment report … seeing our kids doing well … enjoying our status at work, church or in our community gives us a feeling of security. But it’s all based on circumstances around us. And we know circumstances change quickly. Recent happenings in our world and society are reminded us all too clearly that external circumstances are not secure, can never be our rock solid foundation, and can disappear or radically change in a heartbeat.
Today, when peace seems distant, stop and assess whether your search for peace is based on your external circumstances or on your internal relationship with God and your faith in His promises, character, and instructions. No matter what your circumstances, remember that Jesus is with you and will give you the strength you need. As you lean on, trust in, and obey Him, He will make a way. Really, what other options offer the power, character, and track record of our all-powerful Creator of all things? WITHIN REACH and Edging Forward workshops are designed to help you get your confidence from God, not from the external world. Whether you gain security and peace from God or you get it from your transient circumstances is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, help me remember that even if all my financial situations fail, my marriage struggles, my health gives out, or my kids falter … You haven’t changed. I know that Your love for me will never change. With You, I can make it … no matter what. Thank You, Father. All glory to You, my Lord. I pray this in the name of the One You sent to secure my place in eternity, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:37-41