Monday, July 16, 2007

God's Presence 8 (Finding Contentment)

People search for contentment in life. But most people struggle to find it. Brother Lawrence, in his third letter (p. 31) says: "I honestly cannot understand how people who claim to love the Lord can be content without practicing His presence...When I am with Him there, nothing frightens me."
People struggle to find contentment, because they don't know where to look for contentment. Usually, people have a pre-conceived idea of what will bring contentment to their lives, and then they go after it. But the problem is, many people, even when they find what they are looking for, still don't find that they are content.
Brother Lawrence says: "God won't allow a soul that is searching for Him to be comforted anywhere other than with Him." So, if we want to be content, we need to find it in having a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. And this makes sense, because the One who created us knows how to bring contentment to our lives; the One who created us is the only place where we will feel complete.
The apostle Paul also gives us some wisdom on this idea of being content in Philippians 4:12-13- "12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength." It is through God giving us strength to live that we will have the ability to be content.
So, contentment doesn't rest on how much or how little we have, but rather or not we are connected with God. The "Practice of the Presence of God" then, is about "calmly recalling our spirit to God whenever it is distracted." As we get distracted, we then remember to re-connect with God, and God will bring us these feelings of being content. Brother Lawrence ends this letter by saying: "The Holy Spirit dwelling in us leads us to love God in a diversity of ways. God be with you all."