One of the first texts I was ever assigned to exposit before a group of people was Philippians 4:10-13. A good friend of mine and I tag team preached. We both preached the same text back to back, it was a pretty interesting night. It was on my 15th birthday and God taught me an awful lot through that text. One of the things I learned was a word in the text, that at 15 years old I had heard before but had no idea what it meant. I truly had no definition for this word. Content. So I did what any good researcher at 15 years old does, I went to the internet. I found the following:
content- adj. satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
When I understood what this word meant it blew verse 13 out of the ballpark. Christ does more than just allow you to hit a ball out of the ballpark. I say this because probably 95% of the time I hear this verse quoted it has something to do with athletics. But that is not what Paul is talking about in his letter to the Philippians.
So fast forward to this semester being at home in Wilmington, this week, and tonight at church.
Five years later I’ve never forgotten the words of Paul in Philippians 4. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:10-13
This semester at home has been like no other season in my life. One simple blood clot has changed my world. My Dad had a stroke two days after moving back to school for this semester. It was a major stroke and my parents needed help so I came home and skipped out on school. I’ve found since coming home that things are pretty tough at home. I’ll spare most of the details. But things are really tough with the bread winner can no longer work. In a lot of ways I don’t have my Dad anymore. He is a totally different person, who truth be told really doesn’t seem to like me anymore. Because I’m the bad guy who won’t let him eat what he wants, let him yell at my Mom like he does out of impatience caused by his stroke, and makes for sure he takes his medicine so that he doesn’t put himself in the ground any quicker. My heart breaks to hear my Dad pray knowing that he used to pray for probably 10 minutes before we ever went anywhere for the day, and now he stumbles to say “thank you Jesus”. So things are tough.
But I’m constantly reminded of the words of the prophet in Lamentations, “The steadfast love of the LORD never cease, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.” There is infinite hope in the Lord and his steadfast love and mercies that he shows my family and I every single day. Finding myself much like Paul who was in need, the Philippians helped him out. God has sent numerous Philippians and Epaphroditus like characters into our lives. When we have no idea where the money is going to come from to pay the bills, it comes. When we don’t know how we are going to pay for my Dad’s medications, free samples show up or money comes. When my Mom’s spirits have been down because of all the stress and knowing the man who is her husband isn’t the same anymore sets in, someone comes along to bring her joy. God is so good.
For me I am not going to fret, because I know that God’s grace is enough and he will provide. I keep telling my mother time and time again, God is in control. Its where my thick Calvinistic view of providence comes to play. Where the rubber meets the road so to speak. I don’t just confessionally hold these doctrines, but I do my best to live them. Its practical theology not just a good looking system on paper. I truly believe that God causes all things to work for his purpose, and that he really is causing all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose and have been predestined unto salvation so that they might look more like his son Jesus. Even if that means taking everything away including the roof over my head. If he does, he has lost none of his goodness. Because God’s doing good things does not make him good. It is because he is good, he does good things. I don’t curse my God for what he has done, I really truly thank him. I take hope in the glory of Christ, and hope will not put me to shame.
So I have been meditating a bit on Paul’s words the past two days because of something I read on Facebook that was pretty silly. I say God is good way beyond doing well on some silly game that in eternity won’t matter. He is good when your Dad can’t talk, your house is on the border of foreclosure, he is good when you cannot afford trash services, he is good when your mother seems like she is on the brink of a mental breakdown because the stress of taking care of a childlike 48 year old bears down on her 24/7. He is good when all you want to do is get back to school and get an education so you can go through the formalities to get into full time ministry. He is good when the world maligns you because you stand firm on the word of God. He is good when vicious rumors of being a cult because you trust God in EVERYTHING arise against you. Oh Belove you must believe me that God is good, taste and see. You will find out when you learn that the power of Christ can let you be content in ANY circumstance, even when you are hungry and in a prison cell for Jesus that he is Good.
So that brings us to tonight. Mr. Mike who is the youth pastor at church invited everyone to come out for some music, a lesson, and then cake and coffee afterwards. He asked the question, “What is God doing in your life?” Several people answered him, but I didn’t. But I’ll answer here because I’ve been asked that question three times now this week and my answer remains the same. God is teaching me that he is enough. God is enough. I don’t need anything else but Him, and he will supply all my needs. I began to think as he asked this that God was teaching me a bit about Philippians 4. Want to take a guess where he taught from tonight? That’s right, you guessed it. Philippians 4. He taught verse 19:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19
Yep. The promise remains, our God will supply everything we need according to the riches of his son Jesus. So his ability to meet our needs are endless, his means and promises of meeting our needs are perfect. It may not be what we want, but the good news is that His thoughts aren’t our thoughts and that His ways are much higher than ours. They work out for perfect good. Trust Jesus make Him look like the treasure that he really is. Because I promise you the things and people we make ultimate treasure in our live can be gone as quickly as the wind. But Christ is eternal.
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. – Philippians 4:20