Satisfied. Pleased. Gratified. Fulfilled. Happy. Cheerful. Unworried. Untroubled. Happy. Cheerful. Cheery. Glad. Delighted. Tranquil. At Ease. At Peace. Comfortable. Serene. Placid.
The above are words used to describe being content. The definition of content is “in a state of peaceful happiness.”
As we traverse life, how often do we feel content? How often are we happy and fulfilled? How often do we feel great about our life?
Psalm 86 is titled “A Prayer from David,” who was one of the most famous Jews in the Bible. This is the same David who slayed the giant Goliath. This is the same David who rose to be the king of the Jews after being raised in a common family. This is the same David who had an affair with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. David lived a life with an intense faith for God, but he also lived a life where he committed terrible sins.
Although we do not know during what part of David’s life this was, he was exhorting this prayer as he walked through a range of emotions crying out to God for help. He expressed his desire for God to be merciful to him and stated his humility and faith in God’s purpose. David is clearly suffering from something in this prayer, and it appears his life is at risk. David, in the face of death, comes to God to state his belief and humility toward God.
Do we react the same when our life is in turmoil? Do we cry out to God in humility and reverence, or do we cry out in anger and resentment?
David demonstrates a clear recognition in Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your Way, O Lord; I will walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear your name,” that God is in control, and he needs to give his fears and insecurities to God.
For me, the most difficult part of faith, is being ok with not being ok. Meaning, something in my life is uncomfortable. There is strife, discontent, or unhappiness with an aspect of my life. A family member is ill or unhappy, a relationship is strained, or the world around me feels like it is crumbling. Faith for me means accepting the unhappy times and recognizing that I need to ask God for guidance and discernment during those moments of strife. I understand that I don’t know why the troubles are happening, but I know that if I turn to God, He will provide a path for mercy and contentment. Our God is compassionate, and He is good. God wants us to be happy and never promised to remove us from the sinful nature of our world. Our lives will endure pain and we must have faith that our God will provide a way for us to thrive.
Is it possible that we can be content through bad times? Can we have peace when it seems we should be miserable?
I follow Jesus because of that promise. The promise that I am loved, regardless of what is going on in life, and that every aspect of my life has a purpose. What that means to me is that even in the worst moments, God is working on me to understand His purpose and not mine. My life is about living for Him and not for myself. My nature is to try to control things. I am a doer. I am a worker. I will not be a victim. Those principles don’t apply to working through most of the unknown tribulations of our lives. Those traits don’t fix you when your heart is broken, or your soul is crushed. The more blame and anger I let in, the worse the problem evolves to be. When I praise God, ask for His mercy, humble myself, and plead for understanding and grace, He provides me a sense of peace and contentment. Every day is a new day, and it is a daily fight against this world to maintain faith. But I know that I am loved, and I can feel Jesus’s saving grace in my heart when I truly give my troubles to God. May you have the rest and assurance on the bad days, just like you do on the good.
Psalm 86:15 “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”