Welcome to Living Contentment – your weekly nudge towards a life of Biblical contentment.
Here are today’s three contentment-related things for you to
read | do | pray
Several weeks ago I asked you – the Living Contentment community – if there were ways God has helped you through difficult times. Here are three of the responses that speak of God coming alongside, walking with, and delivering other members of this community through the storms of life.
Read these three stories. In some ways they couldn’t be more different – but they also speak of the same God, extending grace, comfort, and perhaps more than anything – contentment in the midst of life’s struggles.
From almost my own funeral – to a wedding.
Have been studying Philippians … brought out responses to suffering and the context of faith/worry being 1. pray (be in relational communication with God), 2. meditate on the word (remember truth) and 3. look back on God’s past faithfulness (remember the story) – that important communal aspect of repeating the story. Since I was in an ICU two years ago with a trauma score that had a 50-50 survival chance, and I’m now typing an email about to go to a wedding of a student we’ve sponsored for much of his life in Uganda . . . why do I forget the rescues so easily.
God allowed suffering – to equip me to serve
As a young adult, I found myself addicted to alcohol and marijuana, and experiencing PTSD symptoms from physical and sexual abuse during childhood that I had not yet learned to name or understand. I was also a card-carrying secular humanist with no time or tolerance for God or those who followed him. Within those storms of life, I was brought to the end of myself in such a manner as to become humbly willing to cry out to God for rescue, from both temporal destruction and eternal condemnation. Long story short, these 39-years later, I’ve been set free from those bondages, and equipped to serve others as a trauma and addictions counselor, to pay forward that with which God has blessed me. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 puts it well, for anyone God has brought through any storms; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Sickness and sorrow – cannot take away joy
God has been very good for me in the past 2 years. In Jan of 2021 I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer and had a kidney removed in the US. I stayed with my sister. I went back to the US in August of 2021 for a follow-up appointment after I retired on July 25. I started a road trip to the US on July 26. I was very sure that they had got the cancer and I was just doing a routine follow-up. However, that was not the case. They discovered that I had cancer in my bladder and it had spread into the muscle tissue around the bladder so I was going to need to have my bladder removed. They sent me to Indianapolis where that surgery took place last September. Because I had a kidney removed already my kidney function was not sufficient to tolerate chemo treatments, but they decided to do immunotherapy treatments over the course of the year. I’ve been living with my sister and brother-in-law for over a year. On September 14. I had my final CAT scan report and it looked pretty good except for spots on my lungs that are too small to biopsy. On September 21 I went to Indianapolis for a follow-up with my surgeon and left from there to resume my road trip. In the past week, I’ve been able to see a lot of neat sites, visit with friends in Colorado and hit some national monuments and parks along the way. God has been so good and helping me stay sane and return to being healthy again. I was quite content during the past year (except when I was worrying about my kids ). But even through that, problems were easily resolved with prayer and help from friends.
Think about your own life – what stories can you share to encourage others with how God has come alongside you, walked with you, and delivered you?
THese stories are powerful testimonies to who God is, what he does, and how he saves.
healer, comforter, savior,
Thank you for how you’ve saved me –
in so many ways from so many things.
Give me courage, and opportunity,
to share these stories of your rescue with others,
so they may understand your heart better.
Talk to you next Thursday!