Contentment and Keeping the Faith

The Coffee — Coffee serves many different purposes for me. It is the perfect breakfast companion, it gives me some energy to start my work day, and it gets rid of the chill after spending time outside on a cold and rainy day. However, one of my favorite uses for coffee is enjoying a cup while relaxing with friends and family. I cherish the moments where I am able to brew some coffee and relax with those I care about and catch up on their lives. This past weekend I had a few close friends over. We brewed a few different roasts and sat together and shared stories and news about work, recent trips, and life in general. The coffee was good, but the company was better. As time goes on, people move farther away and life gets more hectic. I hope to always be able to make time to slow down and share experiences, and a cup of coffee, with those that I love.

The Theology– My mind recently has spent quite a lot of time contemplating contentment. It is a virtue I strive for but find myself often falling short of when there are trials of plans go awry. It is fairly easy to be content when we feel blessed. However, it is something we must be able to find in times of trial. We must be content, thankful for the blessings God has provided in our lives, and have faith that God is in control and has a plan to bless us now, and in the future.

When considering contentment with God’s will, I often find myself in the book of Ruth. Naomi and Ruth faced trying times. They were both widowed and left with nothing. Naomi tried to convince Ruth to leave so she could start a new life and potentially find fortune elsewhere. However, Ruth stuck with Naomi, and with the Lord, and traveled to Israel. She states, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you.  For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16&17). Upon returning to Israel Naomi was greatly discouraged. She exclaims, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:20&21).  However, despite all the misfortune, Ruth persisted without letting the circumstances bring her to despair. Her character, hard work, and virtue brought glory to God and she found great redemption and prosperity. Ruth encountered Boaz while working in his fields.  With Naomi’s assistance, Ruth found favor in Boaz’s eyes. Boaz married Ruth and they had a son together that son carried on a lineage that led directly King David and, as recorded in the books of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament, Jesus Christ. Both Ruth and Naomi, who were once destitute, found their fulfillment in this plan to carry on the lineage leading to David and Christ. “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you who is worth more to than seven sons, has given birth to him.” “They named him Obed.  He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth 4:14:&15, 17)   Despite the death of her husband and being in a foreign land, Ruth did not sink into despair. She was content in knowing that there was a greater plan for her life, and she was greatly blessed for it.

The book of Genesis gives the account of Joseph, another figure who was faithful to the Lord during trials, content in his circumstances, and was greatly blessed for it. Joseph was the favorite son of his father Jacob. However, this caused his brothers to resent him and this resentment drove them to betray Jacob and sell him into slavery. As a slave, the wife of his master tried to seduce Jacob, but he did not betray his master’s previous kindness and fled. He was captured and thrown and prison. “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love” (Genesis 39:21) and placed him in high favor in the eyes prison keeper, and put him on a path to meet Pharaoh; who made Joseph his closest adviser and a truly powerful and respected man. The Lord further blessed Joseph with a wife and they had two sons together. In this, he praised God for the blessings bestowed onto him. “Joseph called the name of the firstborn Mannesseh. for he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God, has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:51&52). Then came the foretold seven-year famine. Joseph excelled at his role of steward and adviser. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers came down to Egypt for food. Joseph forgave them and blessed them food and shelter. He said to them, “come near to me please. And they came near. And he said,” I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” “So it is not you who sent me here, But God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh and Lord over all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt ” (Genesis 45:4&5, Genesis 45:8). Joseph faced great trials in his life. Betrayed by his brothers, enslaved, thrown into prison, and forgotten but he did not lose hope. He remained content, thankful for the blessings of God in his life, and kept faith in God’s plan. And just as stated above, the Lord was with Joseph and blessed him greatly.

When times are tough and the plans we have envisioned for ourselves go awry, it is easy to get discouraged. It is crucial to resist the urge to wallow in despair or attempt to force our own will onto the situation. As believers, we must try to remain content, and in this give thanks for the blessings God has poured out on us. We must keep the faith in God’s plan, and his blessings will continue. As stated in Psalm 23: “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell on the house of the Lord forever.”

All scriptures from the ESV Bible

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