Come to the Garden series
Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 RSV
I doubled my rose garden from six to twelve rose bushes; still, my longing gaze drifts to more varieties. I chafe to reestablish the large vegetable garden and flower beds I had before the gophers, water restrictions, and drought took out many of my plantings. I dream of overflowing flowerbeds of colorful annuals, perennials, and succulents. But such thoughts are selfish, for my budget currently only allows me to buy a few of my long list of desired purchases. Shouldn’t I appreciate what I have?
My discontentment isn’t limited to things. My adult child isn’t available to get together, my husband may be working on a project that takes priority over something we were going to do together, or someone may interrupt me and disrupt what I was scheduled to accomplish in a given period of time. I complain. I want to do what I desire, God, not be on the phone with the friend who needs to talk for an hour. “It’s too hot to weed.” “I don’t want to clean house.” My attitude is not Christ or others-centered.
Oh, how I grieve the Lord with my discontentment. I need to remember that my attitude is not reflecting the will of the Lord God.
I need to be more like the daylilies. They bloom where they are without demanding that conditions be “just right.” Daylilies are not picky about soil, or complaining they won’t bloom unless they get their full allotment of water.
Do you ever struggle with discontentment like me? Are you like a rose that gets leaf diseases if conditions are difficult? Or possibly a fern that wilts when the heat comes? Oh, that we would be like the contented daylily, blooming readily in different circumstances, satisfied with things as they are.
When we desire more and fail to appreciate what we have, it shows an unthankful heart and a lack of trust in God. Scripture says “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV) Do we focus on our fears and doubts and question what He says? Or are we content to let our Creator bring both the sun and the rain, knowing He cares for us?
The Lord said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We can simply repeat it, or we can grow deep into knowing who God is and that He is with us. He doesn’t forget us. Even when life seems to be crashing down around us, we can know with certainty that the Lord is with us. He knows every detail. Jesus experienced the trials and difficulties of being human. He has compassion on us. The writer of Hebrews linked God’s promise to contentment. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul must have struggled with discontentment, for he said, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.” How did he learn? Paul continued with “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul took his wants and his needs to Jesus. Like Paul, we can learn to be content. Let’s give our discontentment to Jesus, trusting He loves us and knows what is best for us. Christ will help us
Lord, please forgive my grumbling and my discontented attitude. Teach me to be content no matter what my circumstances. Help me to remember that You are my helper and I don’t have to struggle or fear. You will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Devotionals post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.
For information on Daylily plants, see my article on Daylily Care on my Gardening page.