Christians and non-Christians alike, if asked to name a Biblical figure could probably come up with this name with just a few hints. He was a faithful jew, he persecuted Christians, he was confronted by the Lord while taking a walk. Not only his life, but his name was changed because of that encounter! Got it? This great hero of the Bible then began a much recorded mission that would retain all of its radical impact thru today’s history and probably on thru timeless history. His name? The Impossible Paul.
That’s my affectionately inaccurate mutilation of his name. It’s brought on by my own personal struggle to live out his words “I have learned to be content in all things.” My inability to live those words is frustrating. I am as far from that reality as health is from illness, fear from security or youth from age. It may be embarrassing to admit that to you but it really makes me mad to have to admit it to myself.
And yet as impossible as these words from the Apostle seem, I believe them. His story of living them out has become my source of hope. It seems that the key is to accept what IS. Life has taught me to have goals but they all seem to be based on what I want and what is yet to come. I have to reexamine that whole area.
There’s the issue of using the past as a rehearsal stage for the future. That’s an area I’ve wasted far too much time on. Second guessing….if I’d done this, the outcome would have been that…..So next time I’ll do…and so on. You get the picture, a truly futile effort. I’m sure that “to be content in all things” is to be content in only one thing – Christ in me, here and now!
Here’s my dilemma. If you were to ask me has God been in charge of my past, my immediate answer would be YES! Of the future, YES! But the reality of today? Can he bridge the big gap between my answers and my actions? Can he build a bridge for me between health and illness, fear and security, youth and age? Can I give up wanting to know things I can’t know? What is God going to do? How is He going to do it? It is apparently going to take a lifetime to learn how to be content in only one thing.