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How Can I Be Content in a Crisis?

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”-Martha Washington

We’ve all had our share of bad days and good days, but what happens when the bad days seem to suddenly outweigh the good ones? When the good days seem to be so far away, that holding onto the hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a rainbow after the rain, and that there is going to be joy after the sorrow, feels so distant and inaccessible?
That’s a question that’s crawled its way forward from being an a small question in the back of my mind to becoming one of the  questions that just refuse to go away during the Covid-19 crisis,

“How can I be content in a crisis?”

How can I be okay when my hours at work have been cut or my friends and family are in the same city but I can’t hug them or be with them? How can I feel safe when the news reports say that I could be the next victim of Covid-19?
But after thinking seriously about how to be content and how to battle my fears, I’ve come to a revelation. The underlying question for me, and maybe for you is this:

Do I still trust what God says when things don’t go my way?

The Apostle Paul dealt with several hardships during his years as a missionary. Before he came to Christ, he was a well-known pharisee that at his command, could send soldiers to kill the young Christians in Jerusalem. But when he came to Christ, he witnessed a spiritual transformation, and suffered persecution for it. In fact, he suffered an illness that he repeatedly asked God to take away, only for God to say, “My grace is sufficient for you”. And Paul trusted what God said to him.

Paul suffered, struggled, starved, and shipwrecked. But Paul survived, and somehow managed to smile.

“I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (2 Corinthians 11:26-29)

Paul, like all other believers in the Bible, survived not because the circumstances around him were pleasant or perfect, but because he trusted what God said. He believed that God was omniscient and would not let him suffer aimlessly. He had faith that the God that sent Abraham into foreign land and promised him a son, was the same God that sent him to foreign land and was present on a ship with him during one stormy night. Paul believed that God could raise the dead to life and give health to the sick and injured when he was left for dead on one occasion, and bitten by a venomous snake on another. He praised God when things went way, and he praised God went things did not.

When ministering to the Philippians Paul answered the question by which many of our hearts have been plagued in this season of isolation and stress, how do I be content in a crisis?

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

Paul did not answer why crises, suffering, persecution, or sickness happen. He did not give a solution for every obstacle we would encounter in life. Instead, he wrote about the need to focus our thoughts on God. Paul encouraged his fellow believers to follow him as he followed Christ.

Paul focused on the One who never changed when everything around him did change. He trusted in God’s promises and walked through suffering contentedly because he knew that there was a purpose and plan. He wasn’t perfect, but He trusted in the one that was.

Later in verses 12-13 he said: “ 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 this through him who gives me strength.”

Friends, our contentment is not based on our present circumstances, health, income or status in society. All of these will come to naught, and as we are seeing now, no one is immune to the crisis currently plaguing the world to the point of fear and discontent. One thing we know for sure, however, is that the God we pray to is listening to our petitions and praise. We can be content when we focus on Him, love Him, and trust in His word. We can be content because we know that God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins, take the penalty and judgement of our sins, and give us a life of abundance in Him. You don’t have to wait for the Coronavirus pandemic to mitigate or disappear for you to live abundantly. You can start doing that now in your home during quarantine and isolation. With a job or without it. Sure it’s hard, but it’s not impossible. God’s grace is sufficient for you.

How will we shine our lights when the world proclaims sickness, death, and fear?
By being content in every situation.
How will we be content in a crisis?
By trusting in God and His promises.

With Love,
Julie Sepulveda
Community Outreach Coordinator

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