The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians a couple of years before he was executed. By comparison, the letter was written six or seven years after he wrote his second letter to the Corinthian church.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote about his many trials: being whipped. Facing death often. Being flogged with thirty-nine lashes on five different occasions. Beaten with rods. Stoned and left for dead. Shipwrecked three times. Adrift at sea for a whole day. And more!
But yet, Paul wrote this to the Philippians:
For I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. (Philippians 4:11 AMP)
How can a person be content while being beaten, flogged, stoned, shipwrecked and more?
Contentment while suffering is not normal for us Americans. We want to voice our complaints on social media or wherever there are sympathetic ears who will commiserate with us in our agony. Misery loves company!
So, how could the Apostle Paul learn how to be content?
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NASB)
Although the above scripture is often used to reinforce our super-Christian mentalities, the scriptural context actually implies that Christ’s strength is there for us in our sufferings.
My prayer for 2022 and beyond:
Lord, teach me how to be content in all things for 2022 and the years beyond, whether it is prosperity or bankruptcy, feast or famine, happiness or grief, because You said that Your strength would empower me to face whatever comes my way.