I Have Learned to Be Content
Special Article by Elder/Pastor Saul Garcia
At the end of every year, we are saturated by the media with a recap of events that happened here in the United States and around the world. When we see them, we tend to sigh, and say, “Oh yeah I remember that happened,” as we recall those events that had captured our attention throughout the year. Today more Americans get their news from watching other media platforms then from newspapers. This is how most get their news, nothing unusual, in fact quite normal. However, this year has been anything but usual; in fact, 2020 has been unusual. This year has many important things to review but I think COVID 19 will take center stage.
This year 2020, as with all New Years, started with a lot of promise and anticipation. As a ministry, we believed 2020 was going to be a year of great opportunity, plans and goals had been prepared and prayed over. No sooner had 2020 begun when we heard about a new virus. We soon became aware of the virus’s name, at first we were told it was the Corona virus and then COVID 19, its name has been settled, but nothing else has been settled. We received mixed messages: we were told to do this or to do that, and then we were told things are getting better, and then, no, they are not. These different messages can be daunting, or in other words, our spirits can be overwhelmed.
The life and strength of COVID 19 worldwide has not abated, it is spiking again for the second time. We are encouraged to be cautious to avoid going back into lockdown. This microscopic lethal virus is still killing many family members and friends; its threat has not diminished. COVID 19 is a tenacious and active enemy; the virus has caused, for multitudes, a great deal of distress, depression, fear and many other physical, emotional, psychological symptoms. We ae surrounded, it is present now and we do not know for how much longer COVID 19 will be around. We pray a vaccine will ultimately quench the potency of the virus and rid us of it. Doctors and authorities that know give us their best-scientifically informed guess, but that is all they can give us. Only God knows when we will be free from this virus. We pray it will be soon.
Knowing this about COVID 19, we turn to the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul under divine inspiration gives us direction about what should be our attitude about life’s situations; I believe that includes this Pandemic. In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul writes:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do everything [all things] through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:11-13; NIV).
Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians while imprisoned at Rome; he is now old with years of world missionary travel under his feet. Paul does not like to talk about himself; however, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians he speaks of the cost of his calling. Paul tells us: five times he was whipped with 39 lashes, three times beaten with sticks, once he was stoned; three times he was shipwrecked, once he drifted in the sea a whole night and day, often he has faced dangerous floods, robbed by thieves in his travels, and often faced danger from Jews, gentiles, and even false brothers. Paul has gone many a night without sleep. Hunger and thirst were no strangers to him. The Apostle endured cold and nakedness, and suffered a thorn in his flesh (2Co 12:7), and, to top it off, beside all Paul had undergone physically, he suffered deep emotional concerns for all the churches he was leaving behind.
I have a great deal to learn about what it means to serve my God and Savior Jesus Christ. Just a glimpse of Paul’s life shows us how comfortable a Christian life most of us live compared to that of Paul. To God be the glory. As I think about COVID 19 and its effects on society, it has caused worldwide havoc, it has placed cities, and even countries in quarantine. For many things have gotten worse, loss of loved ones, loss of health, loss of employment, and the list of worse things goes on. For the rest of us we have been on lock down, almost prisoners of our own homes and after about ten months, many are on edge, and emotionally tired of the uncertainty of when normal will return. Frustrated by the limitations of life, depression has affected every age group. I would not be exaggerating to say, this year has been deadly, annoying, inconvenient, discouraging, fatiguing, disheartening, tedious, and I am sure there are other words that could be added.
We must remember what Paul said about one’s attitude during difficult times. He said, “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.” So then, Victory Outreach no matter what the situation you may be going through during this Pandemic let your testimony be that you have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.
What we have learned is we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:13). Finally, however vicious COVID 19 is, or strenuous the trials we may be going through, or lonely the nights, or gloomy your day, or as dry life may seem, we must remember we can go through anything and be more than conquerors because it is Christ himself who is providing you and I strength.
To be content during these times makes no sense; however, for Christians as it was for Paul, Christ can give us peace and contentment that passes all understanding. So then, in this COVID year and throughout life, I pray we learn, we can do all things, go through anything because it Christ who strengthens us.