Finding Contentment in Trials

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)

Paul asked God 3x to remove his trial and he was denied all three times. By his example we learn that our strength does not come through the removal of our affliction but through experiencing God’s power in the midst of our afflictions.

The goal of the biblical counselor in the life of the counselee is to help him or her to learn to glorify God as they experience the transformation of heart and soul through trials, troubles and discontent. As difficult as it may be to accept, trials and troubles are some of God’s greatest gifts to us.

I completely understand the desire to rub the magic lamp and have the genie remove the offending issue from your life but God did not design our lives to be that way. It is His desire that we do the hard work of heart change even in the midst of the difficulties.

You must remember that a heart that is focused on self wants what it wants and believes it will never be “happy” or content without “self” being satisfied. A person with a heart that desires to glorify God seeks to know Him in the midst of the situation and to understand how she may change to better serve and worship Him even as she is suffering.

This is completely opposite of todays psychologized mentality that claims all my needs must be met which is completely opposite of putting others before yourself!  

Contentment has nothing really to do with my wants, or my needs; it has to do with God supplying that which we truly need, and only He knows what we truly need. Contentment presses on in spite of unmet wants and needs and desires and seeks to trust God even in the midst of not having what we desire, and asking God to change our desires to be what He desires for us to have and to be.

We must learn to be content.  This whole contentment issue is a process, with a great big learning curve. Contentment starts and ends in the heart.

Do you recognize Christ as the perfect model of contentment? He had more personal strength than any human being ever created because He was the God-man, and yet He did not rely on Himself for anything. He constantly sought time alone with the Father for strength to do the Father’s will and the life Jesus led was one of selflessness and self-denial. More than that, He was content to do the will of His Father even unto death.

Contentment comes from denial of self and seeking to serve others with a love for God as the motive. Turning from our own desires and seeking that which God desires to bring into our lives. When it comes down to it, contentment comes from desiring God, not the perceived comforts we think will bring us contentment.