In All Things I Have Learned To Be Content
Philippians 4:10-13 (NKJV)
In the book of Philippians 4:10-13, Paul writes: "But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for 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."
Throughout the years, these verses have been a source of comfort and strength for me for Paul reminds his readers that Christians are not exempt or even excused from the many challenges life has to offer. The Apostle Paul, of all people, endured hardships and heartache. Yet, looking back upon his journey with Christ, Paul declares: I have learned to be content...
I find that verse particularly amazing as I survey my own personal health issues. In the past ten years I have gone from being a strapping 40 year old man to nothing more than a scrawny fifty year old. I stood at 5'9:. I weighed 225 lbs though a person would easily think differently. I had an 18" neck, a 48 inch chest, 20 inch biceps/triceps, and a 33 inch waist. However, a back injury along with five back surgeries have erased and eradicated almost 60 lbs of my person. To add salt to an already existing wound, there is a high probability that most of my issues evolved around Multiple Sclerosis in lieu of back issues.
Because of the increasing severity of my symptoms, I stepped down from the pulpit I so faithfully served on June 08, 2014. Sadly, the congregation I gave myself too for so many years was less than sympathetic. Rather than focusing on the struggles I faced on a regular basis, they were more consumed with what they did to deserve my resignation. Since then we, my wife and I, have heard very little from the flock we once shepherd. That pain is more unbearable than the pain I face on a daily basis.
Yet, through it all, I am learning things about myself and my faith I never knew. I am in the process of learning to be content: not so much as to what I have done for Christ, but rather who I am in Christ. I can honestly echo Paul's words that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Since my resignation, I have published one book (All Things Work Together For Good. Romans 8:28 by L.C. Markland) and am in the process of publishing my second novel Winds of Change.
Through this process of pain and publishing, if I may say so, I have learned that God is not finished with me. I have not completed the race to which He has called me too. There is still much track that must be covered. Though I am only a fraction of the man I use to be, I am learning that who I am as a person is not found in size of stature, but rather in the size of the Savior I serve. I am learning that in Christ I can do all things.