I didn’t have a choice. It was straight up—a loooong way up! A ladder of sorts was built into the vertical side of this wadi and our group was exiting that way. With others climbing up before me and right behind, I couldn’t look up or down. I just had to focus on one step at a time. If anyone had told me that morning what I’d have to do that day, I might have tried to beg off. But as it is, I learned a valuable lesson that day in Israel about God’s provision of strength and courage every step of the way.
Each morning as consciousness dawns on me, I greet the Lord with thanks for sleep and for the newness of another day. Then I mentally review my plans for the day while acknowledging that He may have some surprises in store to be meted out along with the grace to handle them.
I’m reminded of a simple song my mother taught me as a child:
Step by step I’ll follow Jesus
Hour by hour I’m in his care
Day by day He walks beside me
Through the years I know He’s there.
He can still the mighty tempest
He can calm the troubled sea
He the waters trod, He’s the Son of God
He’s the One who always walks with me!
“All I need for an overnight trip is my towel and flip-flops. Put them in a bag and I’m complete!” Words of contentment from a young man in a remote community. On another occasion, an older woman of that community told us that she’s content as long as she has a toothbrush and a couple of other things (which I unfortunately forgot). And me? What-all do I consider essential?
Contentment is focused three times in the letters of the New Testament.
Contentment enables us to focus on the tasks that God has for us to do.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT Written from prison!)
Contentment protects us from sin.
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
Contentment is based on God’s presence and protection. If God is with me, that’s all I need.
Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never forsake you.”
That is why we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)