The apostle Paul knew this all too well. He writes to the Christians in Philippi while sitting under house arrest in Rome, not sure whether he will live or die. To make matters worse he even has to provide for himself while under arrest. So Paul has seen not only the threat of his life from Caesar but just being able to feed himself and keep a roof over his head. The church at Philippi had sent an offering to him and one reason for his letter is to say, “Thank you”. Yet just after his thank you he gives this lesson on faith and contentment:
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11b-13.
Paul’s not minimizing the situation, but he is putting it into perspective. He didn’t say it was fun to be hungry, but his contentment didn’t depend on it. His faith and trust were in Jesus and in him all things are possible. Wherever you find yourself right now, out of work, afraid of getting sick, feeling alone and isolated, Christ is with you and will give you strength. So know that you aren’t alone. Paul also knew the power of friendship and personal connections. Even in this time of social distancing we are here. Call, text, or communicate however you can to the church, family, and neighbors. Even in this time we are in this together. Be well and be safe!