Yesterday was the first snowfall of the year. As I ran errands earlier in the day—the wind blowing snowflakes all up in my face—I caught myself thinking, “I wish it were summer.”
It wasn’t that long ago, however, on a sweltering, hot day in August, that I thought, “I wish it were cooler.” And now that it’s cold—with colder and coldest yet to come—I’m wishing it were warmer.
Which begs the question: Why can’t I just be happy no matter what the temperature?
That got me thinking about the idea of contentment. Listening to conversations around me, I often hear: “If only I had more [insert noun],” or “If only [insert action] had happened,” or, my personal favorite, “[Insert action done toward someone] just isn’t fair.”
There are a lot of discontented people walking around these days, which is somewhat strange because nowhere is it written that life is fair. Or that life happens exactly as we imagine it should. Or that we are to be happy every second of every day. That’s the point of life. You live it. And you keep living it, no matter what gets tossed in your path.
More and more, people are living with a sense of entitlement and a sense of “I deserve [insert noun].” “I deserve to be [insert emotion].” Maybe that sense of entitlement comes from being American. Maybe it comes from a generation of parents giving their children every one of their desires. Wherever it comes from, it’s completely off-base.
And, it begs another question: Why do you or I deserve anything?
That’s just it. We don’t.
I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the church at Philippi: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I don’t know about you, but I surely haven’t gone through even one-eighth of the experiences Paul endured. And yet, he learned how to be content. That doesn’t mean he settled for his position. It means he trusted God to move him through the seasons of his life.
Maybe we need to learn to be content with what we have or with where we are in life, knowing that it won’t be forever. Why would God bless us with more or move us to a new place, if we can’t figure out how to be content with what we have?
It’s not snowing at the moment. But, it’s cold. There are worse things though. Seasons come and go. Temperatures change, as do circumstances. Life continually changes. That’s the way it works. It’s really about what we do in the here and now that matters most.
I’m going to go do something now. After I down a cup of hot cocoa.