While they were on, we watched the Olympics. It’s an interesting experience to watch them in a foreign country. We understood none of the commentaries, but since Japan participates in different areas than Canada, we did get to see sports that we’d never seen before. We’ve watched table tennis, rhythmic synchronized gymnastics, and lots and lots of judo: a sport that we’ve come to really enjoy.
Through the Olympics, I gradually became aware of a strong emotion exerting itself in my spirit: jealousy. I wasn’t jealous of the super-human feats of the Olympians, exhilarating as they are. No, I was jealous of the people in the stands. The people who are free of injury, who are leading “normal” lives, who can sit and walk to their hearts’ content, and who can get up and fly wherever they want on planes. I felt pathetic.
With this realization came another: for the last couple of months, I have lost my contentment. I’ve had moments, even extended moments, of contentment, but this has not been the over-arching theme of my life, as it was a few months ago.
Paul says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11), and for a time I had been able to say this too. What changed?
I think that a large part of contentment is the development of habitual gratitude. I’m a strong Type A personality: very results-driven. But what about the times when the results are not within my power to obtain? What about situations where the very setting of goals can be detrimental because then I will try to push my body to meet them, and court further injury? Am I willing to submit myself to God and His plans? Am I willing to trust, and even to thank Him for the place I’m in?
In my devotions, I came to the following passage:
“Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.” (Psalm 37:16)
I thought to myself, “What if this applies to me?” Through my injury and recovery, God has been refining Peter and me – showing us delights in Him that we’d never dreamed of. What if the “little” I have now is better than the greatest “much” that I had before?
Everywhere I turn, it seems that God keeps bringing up verses about waiting on Him, and promises of His good plans for me. The verse that I’ve been meditating on most in recent days is Psalm 46:10.
“Be still” … in my favourite translation it says “Cease striving” … “and know that I am God.”
I meditate on two or three words of that phrase at a time, and somehow in the stillness, all frustration and impatience melt away, and I am content.
The Land Between
As I’ve been going through this period where energy is elusive, a friend of ours recommended a sermon series called “The Land Between”. Whether you’ve lost your job, you’re having problems with your kids or spouse, or you’ve encountered health problems...