By Lt. Jen Liggett
Administrator of San Francisco & Oakland, CA Adult Rehabilitation Centers
Every single one of us goes through seasons…seasons where everything seems to flow and radiate goodness, and seasons where we feel like we can’t catch a break. Seasons that feel like sweater weather and seasons where we can feel the warmth of God’s love on our face like the summer sun. As God’s beloved daughters, we will experience them all. In order to develop the strength of character that God desires to produce in us, we must learn to be content and flourish through them all. Paul gives us an example of contentment in all circumstances in Philippians 4:11-13 when he proclaims:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)
Paul is actually penning these words to the Philippians while he is in prison. He is in the middle of a season that has left him broken, beaten and weary, wondering if each day is going to be his last. So, what is Paul’s secret? It’s actually no secret at all. He reveals his source of contentment, when he writes, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). Paul flourishes in this dark, damp season because of his faith and hope in Christ.
- Have you been a season, or are you in one now, that has you feeling broken and weary? Are you able to find contentment and flourish in this season? How has your faith in Christ carried you through?
There are times in our lives when we are in the middle of the fire and the only thing to do is remember that everything has to pass through the hand of God. In other words, we can flourish and find contentment in all circumstances, because we know that God only allows things to happen to us that He can use for His glory and our good. In James 1:12 we are assured that:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (NIV)
When we press in and press on through our most difficult seasons, our heart and spirit are being refined and prepared for our eternal destination. The knowledge that we are citizens of Heaven enables us to flourish during seasons of trial.
- Are you in a season of trial and testing of your faith? Do you find strength in the promises of God? How does the knowledge that God wants to refine you help you to find contentment during these times? Are you able to flourish under fire?
There will also be seasons when we feel like we are walking on sunshine. Almost as if we can hear the roar of the ocean waves and feel the warm sand slipping through our toes. These are the times when we might have less difficulty flourishing and finding contentment. The psalmist expresses the beauty of flourishing when he proclaims in Psalm 1:1-3:
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (NLT)
These are the times when all of God’s promises seem to be materializing and coming to fruition right before our eyes. It is imperative to remember that all good things come directly from God, and we are flourishing as a result of His good pleasure. Our contentment should begin and end with deepening our relationship and creating a space of intimacy with our God and King.
- Are you in a season of beauty and harvest right now? What kind of fruit is being produced in your life? How are you cultivating that intimacy with God?
In all seasons we can flourish and find contentment when we put our hope in the One who created us. He has seen fit to call us His daughters. He stands at the beginning and the end of the road. There is nothing that we will experience that is a surprise to Him. When we put all of our faith and trust in Him, we can flourish in any kind of weather. Psalm 92:12-15 reminds and reassures us that:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.” (NIV)
We can flourish in the season we are in when we trust in “the Rock”. As we close this Bible Study time together, let’s say a prayer to remind ourselves to focus on God’s goodness during every season.
Father, help us to remember that your love is unconditional during every season of our lives. That no matter what our circumstances are You are with us, You are for us, and You will never leave us or forsake us. Please help us to flourish and find contentment in every season, as we trust in You and Your plan and purpose for our lives. May we remember that rough times produce strength of character and smooth times remind us of Your goodness. Father, may we always remember that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love and that You only allow us to experience things that You can use for our good and Your glory. We claim contentment and victory through every season in our lives in the might matchless name, the name above all names, the name of Jesus. Amen.
Download a printable version of this Bible study: