2017 has marked the year when I was finally able to step off of a plane into the eastern hemisphere—praise the Lord! It was a long time coming, yet I was filled with anticipation for the unknown more than excitement for just experiencing something new.
I began my three week journey though two countries of Southern Asia in Hyderabad, India. After that I traveled throughout southern India taking in all that I saw, tasted, smelled, and heard. So, this is what India was like. A developing country indeed. Extremely populated. Vast lands filled with miles and miles of farmlands in between small and large cities.
However, at the heart of it all, I wondered if they were happier? That's what I've always heard in the past from people who have gone on mission trips to developing countries across the globe. They would share how simple the lives of the individuals were that they encountered, yet they were still very happy. These individuals filled the air with laughter, had contagious smiles, and shared their food.
So, what did I experience? I met genuine people of all walks of life who laughed, made me smile, and fed me until my heart was content. Then... I met those who only saw what they were deprived of. Their smiles were false and the conversations lacked laughter.
Hmmm... I wasn't expecting that.
But why not?
Everywhere around the world there are people who struggle with gratitude. That is not just an American thing.
Then the concept came together in my mind. No matter who we are or how full, or empty, our bank accounts are, we ought to be content in whatever circumstance that we find ourselves in. (Philippians 4:11). I was looking for others to show me how to be content in all circumstances. I was looking for proof that a simpler life guarantees happiness. I was disappointed. Instead, I found people just like me who have to choose to enjoy life from day to day. They could be depressed and hang their heads, selfish and ignore the plight of others, or choose happiness and share their brightness with others. I have to look to God to show me how to daily live with a content heart. Otherwise, I will find myself saying, "See, they're not content. I told you it's not really possible." Or I could say, "They are struggling the most, of course they're unsatisfied. It's completely ok."
"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise."
God is teaching me that no matter what, He is worthy of our trust and faith. For "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I have to chose to be content everyday even though I don't see how this chapter ends. Certain parts of my story have yet to be revealed and God is not required to provide me a certain lifestyle in order for me to deem Him worthy of my appreciation. I have to appreciate him just for being the God who actually loves be as the word is defined. So, whether I am rich or poor, destitute or a billionaire, have my dream job or one that pays the bills, God is worthy of all the praise that I am capable to expressing.
I loved my trip to India as well Myanmar. I will have much to say about it, but for now, I am thankful for this lesson:
All people—American, European, India, Burmese, South American, African, Australian are called to put their complete trust in God whether they are rich or poor. Praise God. Trust God. Be content with the place that he has you in, because he has you there for a reason.
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What do you think? Do you find yourself struggling with being content with where God has you now? Share you thoughts with me. I would love to hear from you.