I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13, NIV

It’s hard to fully appreciate the hills in life without the valleys…so we say. But if we’re honest, we don’t really want the valleys, do we? No one usually prays and hopes to experience hardship or challenging times—that’s natural. And yet…the valleys do come in life—that’s inevitable. And when they do, do you praise Him in those valleys, really?

The Bible gives us many admirable examples of folks who did: Job and David come to mind, for starters. These men experienced some major trauma…and they praised God all the same. Actually, they praised Him even more. “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15).

I am discovering that when Paul talks about learning the secret of true contentment by relying upon Him who gives us strength, what he means is that we can only learn true contentment by being put in a position where that is our only option. To echo a popular phrase, “When Jesus is all you have, you learn that Jesus is all you need.”

Many times, the deepest relationships are those that go through hard times together. They are tested and refined by that purifying fire of pain that carves a deep and clear pathway to the heart. Our relationship with Christ is the same. In the darkest, deepest valleys, when we have lost everyone and everything else, and everything but our very breath is stripped from us…Jesus is still there. He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Learning this kind of love really is the secret to contentment. Knowing that the only thing you truly need in this life is also the only thing that can never be taken from you…that produces a peace that surpasses all understanding and a contentment that the world can’t touch.

My unconventional prayer for you today is that you would experience a trial that gives you the opportunity to praise God louder, deeper, and with more sincerity than ever before, enabling you to really know for yourself that sweet, sweet blessing of contentment in Jesus. There’s nothing like it.

Dear Lord, I pray today that when the trials in this life come, You will lead me through them with Your gentle and loving hand. Help me to hold Your hand and not let go. Enable me through Your spirit, God, to grow closer to You in my pain. Draw me closer to You and remind me of Your always and forever love for me. Teach me the true contentment that is only found in You. Amen.

Copyright Rhapsody Jordan-Parisi.

Rhapsody is a member and high school English teacher from North Carolina. She is passionate about helping struggling teachers strike a balance between success and sanity at her blog, tightropeteaching.com.

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CE Summer Bible Study

Thanks for your interest in joining us as we read through the New Testament with our fellow Christian educators this summer!