During tough times, trust a God who knows

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011

By DARRYL WOOD / Guest Columnist

The stock market instability troubled a financial advisor. He decided to seek counsel from his pastor. “Are you getting your rest and sleeping well at night?” the pastor questioned.

“I’ve been sleeping like a baby,” the financial advisor answered. “I sleep for about an hour, wake up, and then cry for about an hour.”

As a personal friend often says, “I’ve been through times when I had money and times when I didn’t. Having money is my preferred option.” Do you agree?

The Apostle Paul faced similar circumstances. At times he lived in plenty. At other times he barely survived financially. He said, “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.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

For Paul, contentment represented an inner self-sufficiency. Possessions or lack of them did not determine this satisfaction of spirit. Paul learned this contentment through his relationship with a strengthening Christ (Philippians 4:13). Financial planners teach important principles. Save more, pay down debt, give to worthy causes, develop a budget. These suggestions, and others, promote healthy management of resources.  Faithful Christian living requires wise stewardship of God’s physical provisions.

Accumulation of physical resources, however, never engenders lasting inner contentment. That comes when you discover the meaning of “enough,” according to Paul’s definition. Paul found “enough” to be personal fulfillment arising from a reliance on God. Economic hard times can be worrisome. But you, too, can experience inner contentment. Trust a God who knows your situation. He’ll help you sleep better than a baby.

The Rev. Darryl Wood is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vincent. You can reach him at dwood132@bellsouth.net.