The scent of melted candle wax permeated the sacristy as murmurs of prayers filled my ears. Worship just ended and a number of people remained behind for personal prayer. I stood at the end of the line with my eyes closed tightly focusing my thoughts on God.
Pastor moved down the line, not rushing or belaboring the time he took to anoint and pray for each individual’s needs. Words such as healing, comfort, peace, and strength broke the silence as each patiently waited their turn. As each prayer ended, that person quietly left the church.
What would Pastor say to me? Physically, a number of things warranted prayer, but even more I was desperately searching for something, anything to fill an emptiness growing inside my soul. I wanted to feel fulfilled in my life and ministry. Maybe my prayer would finally give me direction or healing in one or more of these areas.
When Pastor began to pray for Josh, the young man standing next to me, I couldn’t help but overhear. “Josh, go forth knowing you are a child of God. Your faith is strong and deep. Your family will heal from the loss of Grandpa Wayne. God’s Holy Spirit resides in your heart and will bless you in all aspects of your life. His Word is true. Continue to believe in Jesus Christ and you will be blessed. The Lord has great things planned for you. Remain in Him. Amen” As Pastor ended the prayer, Josh turned and left the room.
Wow! What a great prayer! I would have jumped for joy if Pastor just said, “Ditto,” when he prayed for me, but this was not the case.
Pastor anointed my head with oil, placed his hands on my shoulders, paused a moment, snickered a little (yes, he actually snickered) and then said, “Life is like Swiss cheese….”
I immediately felt deflated.
As my head snapped up, I said, “What the heck? Cheese? Really?”
He began again, “Life is like Swiss cheese. You can concentrate on the cheese or focus on the holes; it’s your choice. God knows the holes in your life have not been caused through any fault of your own. He also knows there many solid blessings in your life as well. Concentrate on the solid parts, not what isn’t there.”
I was stuck at Swiss cheese. What was I supposed to do with that? Go home and make a Reuben sandwich?
While Pastor’s prayer for me was unique, isn’t it true for all of us? Aren’t we all drowning in blessings and yet we complain about the few things we don’t have or not going the way we wanted?
Why is it so hard for us to be content?
Content means to be satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
The Word says:
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I’m not content because I continually struggle with sin. I wrestle with wanting more. I fight my desire to be noticed and appreciated. And I rejoice because I don’t have to face these battles alone!
When I realize God resides within my soul….
When I accept His deep abiding love….
When I recognize the price Jesus Christ paid on my behalf….
I am utterly ashamed I asked for one iota more.
It is at these times, when I fall on my face at His feet, I am not only content, but full of joy for His mercy and grace.
Only Jesus can bring me true contentment.
And I have a new appreciation for Swiss Cheese.
May we all be able to find contentment with the blessings God gave us and to use those gifts to bless others.
Philippians 4:10-12 (ESV) 10 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. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV) For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Timothy 6:6 (ESV) 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and[a] we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.