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Three steps to contentment during chaos.
Friday, May 5, 2023 by Janet Perez Eckles

 

“How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?”

In the decades as a court Spanish interpreter, I’ve interpreted that question countless times. But no matter how convincing the evidence, or how stern the judge’s reading of the charges, you never know what the response or plea will be. During sentencing, anxious thoughts must fill the minds of defendants as they walk into new life behind bars.

In the courtroom of life, we may feel sentenced to live in a world behind the bars of anxiety. But in the chaos that swirls with fury, we can still find security, we can still know peace and even live with profound contentment. Here are three patterns to follow:

Contentment comes in our praises. While in prison, did Paul choose grumbling or gratitude? “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose.” (Acts 16:25-26)

With heavy chains around his ankles, Paul looked up and his lips spoke praises to the Lord. The surroundings didn’t matter. The discomfort didn’t face him. Nor did the injustice rattle him. He didn’t complain or grumble, he found contentment and gratitude. That’s when chains broke loose and freedom came. That same freedom you and I will know when we praise God and even thank Him in the pain.

Contentment comes with intimate closeness. David knew despair, his laments in Psalm 22 range from physical torment to spiritual torture. Yet when he called upon God, he remembered His goodness and faithfulness, that’s when contentment arrived as David sensed God’s closeness: “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.” (Psalm 139:1-3)

Just like God is familiar with David’s innermost details, He knows ours too. He knows when we’re reading those headlines and He sees the stress that surges, the worry that walks in and the fear that makes us frantic. But God also knows how to place peace in our hearts and bring contentment in spite of the chaos.

Contentment comes in spite of losses. When day by day we seem to lose what we once knew to be sacred and good? Inflation doesn’t end. Immorality becomes more intrusive. What God called wrong is now right. And what we once held holy is now ridiculed. But no matter what changes, how much we lose, contentment dawns as it did with Habakkuk. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

No matter what we lack, we will also rejoice, trusting in the Lord, our Savior. This mindset and resolve keep us free from the prison of anxiety. We’re not sentenced to a life of gloom, but to a forever in God’s grace. That’s the contentment that defies any chaos, any battle or any storm.

Let’s pray:

Lord, thank you for my renewed contentment as I recognize that the darkness that surrounds us is no match to Your power at work. I will rejoice in You, my Savior. Amen.

What difficult moments need your praises to the Lord?

Further reading: Why anxiety doesn’t have to defeat you.

Janet

It’s my joy to have you as part of my inspirational family. Please feel free to share today’s post with others.

Special Announcement

I invite you to dance with me in celebration of my book which is coming soon, Now I See: How God’s Amazing Grace Transforms Betrayal, Blindness and Heartache to Shining Joy. I wrote it for you—to uplift you with fresh inspiration. Your copy waits for you here.

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I also invite you to visit my WEBSITE. You’ll find more inspirational blogs along with my story, books, and videos. You’ll also learn the passion and mission of JC Empowerment ministries.

 

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