For two weeks I have been mining the book “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment.” It is rich. But God isn’t limited to book learning. In this week, four friends have suffered in ways I have never been called. Suddenly my boundaries seem very pleasant. In fact, I am overwhelmed that I have no reason for discontent.
--First Laureen asked for prayer at fellowship. Her baby, Glady, (9 months) was in hospital for a week with malaria. Laureen is a Kenyan Muslim who converted to marry and then was abandoned by her Christian husband. She has found her Lord and will not go back to Islam, even to receive help from her family. She lives in a room behind a “big house”. Her room has a light bulb, a mosquito net and mat, no furniture to speak of. She has a 3 year old as well, Rachel. Laureen teaches English to get by. She has never asked for a thing but prayer.
--Then my Brazilian friend went to Maputo to get a check up. She had prayed for a baby for two years and found she was pregnant four months ago. The check up discovered that the baby must have died and been reabsorbed. Her pregnancy had continued, she grew, the placenta and cord grew, but there was no baby.
--Another friend who has fought several rounds with cancer has been told there are new spots on her lungs
--Veronica shuffled up my driveway Thursday morning while I taught Bell. I didn’t recognize her at first, her husband had beaten her very badly. She had blood down her dress front, swollen eye, injured arm, broken spirit. He prophesied that she would get tired of the treatment and run away from him. Her husband is the pastor who was removed from leadership in February because of his adultery.
I don’t believe in comparison, but often get caught in its trap. Seeing the pain these friends are facing, I could scold myself and point out how “good” I have it, and it would be true.
But God is teaching us each different lessons. He also wants us all to find our contentment in him--no matter our situation. Be it cancer, death, abandonment, illness or abuse, He is God in Heaven.
And Heaven Rules.
Remember after Nebuchadnezzar’s rather unusual lesson, he said:
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” Dan 4:37
From the mouth of a pagan king. Wow.