Although blind from infancy, Fanny Crosby went on to write more than 9,000 hymns, many of which are still sung today, including: “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God Be the Glory,” and “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.” A well known poet, she became friends with many members of Congress and several Presidents. Crosby refused to be bitter because of her disability. At age eight she wrote: Oh, what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world, Contented I will be.
In our text today, Paul shared his own life lessons on contentment. He had learned that it was not dependent on his circumstances (v. 11). Throughout his lifetime Paul had experienced a multitude of setbacks, disappointments, and cruel punishment (v. 12). He has known times of need and times of plenty (v. 12). Nonetheless, he had learned not to let those negative experiences define him. How? He says, “I have learned the secret of being content” (v. 12). In verse 13, he explains how: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (v. 13). By focusing on God and through His strength, Paul was able to overcome.
At the beginning of today’s passage, in verse 4, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” This does not mean Paul always felt emotionally happy, but it does mean that he had a deep joy based on his relationship with God. He also spent time in prayer and thanksgiving, letting God know everything that was on his heart (vv. 6–7). Here we can learn one of the most valuable lessons in life: Be content because you can do anything through Christ who gives you strength.
>> Some of our readers, more than 4,000 of you, are serving time in prison. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we want to join in prayer for you today. We pray that you will feel God’s presence and His strength. May God use this time in your life to shape you for His glory.