A cross of their own choosing

(Thomas Watson, "The Art of Divine Contentment")

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

 I know both how to have a little—and I know how to have
 a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret
 of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in
 abundance or in need." Philippians 4:11-12

Paul knew how to manage in every state—he learned to be
content whatever his circumstances. If he was in prosperity
—he knew how to be thankful. If he was in adversity—he
knew how to be patient. He was neither lifted up with
—nor cast down with adversity.

A Christian should be content in any and every situation.
Many are contented in some conditions—but not in every
condition. They can be content in a wealthy state. When
they have the streams of milk and honey—now they are
content. But if the wind turns and is against them—now
they are discontented. While they have a silver crutch to
lean upon—they are contented; but if God breaks this
crutch—now they are discontented.

Many would be content with their affliction—if God would
allow them to pick and choose. They could better endure
sickness—than poverty; or bear loss of estate—than loss
of children. If they might have a cross of their own
—they would be content.

But a contented Christian does not desire to choose his
cross—but leaves God to choose for him. He is content
both for the kind of the afflictions, and the duration of
the afflictions, which God gives him. A contented man
says, "Let God apply whatever medicine He pleases—
and let it lie on as long as He desires. I know when it
has done its cure, and eaten the venom of sin out of
my heart—that God will take it away."

A contented Christian, being sweetly captivated under
the authority of the Word, desires to be wholly at God's
disposal, and cheerfully lives in whatever circumstances
that God has placed him in. "I delight in weaknesses, in
insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties."
(2 Corinthians 12:10) He does not only submit to God's
dealings—but rejoices in them!