Bible Society of South Africa

Feeling trapped? – 14 May 2020

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

11You will show me the path that leads to life;

your presence fills me with joy

and brings me pleasure for ever.

Psalms 16:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

11And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learnt to be satisfied with what I have.

Philippians 4:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

Boethius was a philosopher and Roman senator around AD 520 who was accused of treason and thrown into prison. While he was awaiting trial, and subsequently execution, he asked for writing materials. Before his death he completed a book called “The Consolation of Philosophy”, which has since been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and earlyRenaissance Christianity.

Despite his bleak prospects, Boethius was also a Christian. His faith and his experiences inspired his writings, which reflects on how evil can exist in a world governed by God, and how joy is still attainable amidst changing fortune. He wrote: “Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content.” Which is a rather elaborate way of saying that the way we view our circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves.

Paul also understood that our view of changing circumstances and contentment is a choice. While he too was in prison, he wrote: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Both men could be content because they drew their ultimate satisfaction from God, who never changes.

Do you feel trapped by difficult circumstances? God can give you contentment. Lasting satisfaction can be found only with Him. When all you have is God, you have all you need.

Prayer: Lord, lead me today as you see best. Use the gifts you’ve given me to encourage others on their journey. Help me not to compare myself with others but to be content, despite the circumstances. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.6
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