I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…. Philippians 4:12b
When one of my older sisters was in high school she got herself all prepped one Friday evening in anticipation of a dreamy date night with a football player who attended a local university.
The dreamy date never happened because the date never showed.
Pitiful. Oh so pitiful.
And pitiful isn’t pretty.
Or so said our very wise mother while sitting at my sister’s bedside that almost-emotionally-unrecoverable night as she was likely clinging to a tear-soaked pillow.
Yes, Mom served up a measure of godly pity. Even a dose of empathy.
But then, in one sentence, she yanked my sister free from that unpleasant pity party she’d created.
“You know, pitiful isn’t pretty.”
Pitiful can mar the beauty of my witness to a world that is far from content, one where sniper shootings sometimes fire from a hate-filled heart at innocent victims, the result of murderous thoughts never kept on a leash.
Being honest here, I’m not content. Okay, not all the time. No one is. Life can hit hard. In fact, I can only imagine the families and comrades of the five Dallas cops senselessly slain aren’t whistling a happy tune, walking on air and freely quoting Philippians 3:8 either:
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.
But like Apostle Paul, I can say I have learned the secret to being content when I’ve been unexpectedly slammed by “boyfriend stood me up” issues of life. It’s choosing to praise my good and faithful God anyway, to remain ever grateful.
And when I put that secret into practice, God changes my countenance from the inside out.
Because pitiful, self-absorption wasn’t pretty then, it still isn’t pretty today, and it won’t be pretty tomorrow, either.