This sweetie was baptized on March 5, 2017. She’s a smiler! She loves being held. She’s easygoing and content. She’s almost 8 months old, the youngest of my 4 granddaughters. (Granted, all my grand girls are very special!) But recently, I single this little girl out because she makes me contemplate my blessings, treasure the gift of life as I get older, and think more about the enigma of contentment than I usually do…
The expression on my little Caroline’s face is one of “at-homeness” that says “I’m just happy to be here” and puts everyone around her in awe of her contentment. I picture this expression as reflective of the heart of one who is fully at rest with the Lord’s enduring nearness and tight grip. One who really knows shalom. One who is really a citizen of heaven and not earth. One who is genuinely transformed by new life in Christ, and not merely a reformed version of old life.
In turmoil, I know contentment to be the ability to be calm, unafraid and unconfused. To trust God completely. To see nothing else in sight except Him walking on the sea (Mark 6:49). To know His purposes are being accomplished with no particular end while being all about the process of walking by faith and not sight. But, how often do I experience this reality? Less than I care to admit.
There is a lyric from the Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline” that says “how can I hurt when I’m holding you… good times never seemed so good.” Yes I know, it is a big stretch stretch to spiritualize this song, but contentment looks much like this in my mind’s eye. In the tragedies and disappointments of life, God brings supernatural calm in the raging storms. How can I hurt when I am fully in God’s grip?
Paul sums it up in Philippians 4:11b-13: “…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 everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Psalm 66:10-12 “For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.” The abundance of Jesus is mine when all earthly comforts are stripped away. The abundance of Jesus is mine when I am grieving losses of all kinds. The abundance of Jesus is mine when I confront the enemies of my soul face to face because He stands between me and my enemies.
I want the true expression of my heart to be like my sweet Caroline’s – joyful, unstriving, trusting, smiling. Sure that God is holding me. Content. Thank you little Caroline! for radiating joy and beaming contentment. You’ve given me a picture that I will hold forever.