Written by: Vivian Wilson
If I had known them what I know now, (How many times have I said that in my life?), then——-
Would life be perfect? Would I be perfect? Would I make all the right choices? Would I be free from worry, from fear, from heartache and difficulties? Would I even be the person that I am today?
The answer to all of these questions is, “ABSOLUTELY NO!”
So, why do I even make that dumb statement in the first place? Is it because I don’t like to make mistakes, I don’t like to feel sad, or lonely, or rejected, or inadequate, or anything else that isn’t good? Or maybe if I know all the answers I would have better control of my life. I would always do the “right” thing, be in the “right” place, say the “right” thing. Or maybe it’s all of the above.
It sounds like what I really want to do is take over God’s place doesn’t it? Do I think that I can do a better job with me than He can?
It is discontentment that causes me to make the false claim that, “If i knew then, what I know now—–” When I am discontent, what I am really saying is, “God, your plan isn’t so good; I know a better way. You don’t understand how difficult this situation is for me or how it makes me feel.”
Paul wrote about being content in Phil.4:11-13.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 all things through him who gives me strength.”
The secret to being content is to live in union with the exalted Christ who is the source of my strength.
Life doesn’t randomly happen to me. There are no accidents in God’s plan for me. (Jer.29:11-13) However, I do have a free will to make choices and I learn from both the good and bad choices I make. But God is bigger than my choices, and can turn even the bad ones for my good. (Rom.8:28). I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have the growing relationship with God that I have if not for the lessons learned from life experiences.
Paul “learned” to be content. It took life experiences to teach him.
So the question is, “Do I really want to be content in the place that God has lovingly put me in for the time required for Him to do His work? It is my choice to be content or not. His plan will prevail.
Pr.19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.”
We have only to look at Eve to see what happens when we want more than what
God lovingly and graciously provides.
If I want to learn to be content, I must surrender my will to God’s will moment by moment. I must live in the present, not living in the regrets of the past because “I didn’t know then what I know now.” And even knowing stuff now won’t guarantee that I won’t make a bad decision. By choosing God’s will, I am in step with him, walking in his strength, no matter what the circumstances, learning to be content.
What I know now is this: I can choose to be content, trusting God’s plan for me, what ever that looks like, knowing that He is with me giving me the strength and grace that I need to live the life that He has planned especially for me. And by choosing contentment I experience the love, joy, and peace that comes from being in the very presence of God.