Does it surprise you that Paul wrote today’s passage when he was in prison? He didn’t know what his future held—whether he’d be freed or punished or killed—but he had learned to be content in all circumstances, good or bad. How many of us can make that claim?
It’s not uncommon to feel discontentment when we cannot control our situation. And as long as our satisfaction depends on whether certain things work out, circumstances will continue to steal our peace. Paul was not saying that we’ll never experience anxiety or frustration again; rather, what matters is how we respond when those feelings grip us.
This is something Paul had to learn. He endured tremendous suffering, from shipwrecks and hunger to unjust imprisonment and beatings (2 Corinthians 11:24-30). He knew as well as anyone that situations can be painful and seemingly hopeless. But he finally discovered that true contentment came from Jesus, not the situation he found himself in.
How do you respond when circumstances are out of your control? Paul chose to give his anxieties to Jesus in exchange for peace that “surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7). That same peace is available to you and me.