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December 10, 2007

No Need or Want

In Philippians, the apostle Paul writes, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (4:11-13). One of the key words in this Scripture is the word content. Paul understood the secret to joy, peace, and happiness. It is not found in having more, but enjoying what God has given.

In chapter eleven of Achieving the Impossible with God, Dr. Forrest recalls what life was like following the Haddock Inn fire. He explains, “The money came one week at a time—no more, no less—until the dining room and kitchen were erected. The students did most of the labor, aided by a friend from Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Adolphus, who was a builder. He volunteered his services and came up to the Institute to supervise the construction.

“At the completion of this building, the tents were moved nearby. Then a board shack—just boards up and down, with battens over the cracks—was put up for housing some of the new girls.” We can almost hear him saying, “Evelyn and I had a room in the building, too. This is where the headquarters for the school was located. It wasn’t much but it was all we needed. Everyone pitched in and everyone shared in the school’s survival.” Earlier in this same chapter, he mused, “The students kept coming—why, I do not know. Why they stayed, I couldn’t tell anybody. [But] We had the sweetest kind of time; nobody complained; everybody was happy.”

Imagine being happy, satisfied, content, and even at peace with what seems to be so little. By the end of that same chapter, his words were even brighter. In fact, there is no way to read them without sensing his joy and astonishment over the Lord’s goodness. “Truly,” he says, “God is ‘able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.’ We surely have ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ Praise His holy name!”

Battens over cracks—just boards up and down—and hearts full of joy and wonder over all God had done and would do in the future. The one thing money could not buy is exactly what they had in abundance—contentment. They had one another, and they also knew the Savior of the world held them tightly within His righteous right hand. What more could they possibly need or want?

Taken from the online book Grace in The Wilderness © 2007