Friday, August 18, 2006

Whatsoever State

I have begun reading a book called, "Great Women of the Christian Faith" by Edith Deen, and haven't read beyond the first two pages. As I read the second page, a quote from an early martyr jumped from the pages.

Vibia Perpetua, who, in her early twenties, became a Christian and was sentenced to imprisonment because of her beliefs. She had an infant son who was brought to her in prison by friends. She wrote:

"I suckled my child, who was already weak from want of nourishment. In
my anxiety for him, I spoke to my mother, and comforted my brother and
commended to their care, my son. And I pined excessively because I saw
them pining away because of me. These anxieties I suffered many days;
and I then obtained leave that my child should remain with me in the
prison. Immediately I gained strength and being relieved from my anxiety
about the child, my prison suddenly became to me a palace, so that I
preferred to be there rather than anywhere else."

In reading this, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's words to the church at Philippi: "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11, KJV) It amazes me that, even though Perpetua was imprisoned for her faith and harassed by her family, by being with her son, she found her prison a palace.

It humbles me to think that I, living in an ideal home, with Christian parents and brothers, friends, with opportunities to do things some people will never get the chance to do, find myself discontent sometimes with the life I am living. It seems I break the "Thou shalt not covet..." commandment every time I go to the local Wal-Mart, even though I have everything I need. If Perpetua, being in the darkest time of her life, could be contentjust by being with her son, can't we, as Christians, be content with the things the Lord has given us?

I am earnestly praying for the day when I will be able to truthfully say, "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

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