Today’s passage presents an interesting paradox. Paul promises the Philippians that God will supply all their needs (Phil. 4:19) yet admits that he has experienced times of want (Phil. 4:12). To reconcile these two statements, let’s consider God’s divine viewpoint.
Paul wrote these words from a prison cell, a place of great physical distress. From a human perspective, we might all agree that God should have provided for the apostle by relieving his suffering. But instead, the Lord taught him contentment in this difficult situation. Although his physical discomfort remained, a greater need—for a changed attitude—was met.
A change of heart toward ongoing suffering is a huge challenge. On our own, it’s impossible, but the Lord promises to strengthen us through Christ. By living in dependence and submission to Him, we gain His power to overcome our negative, sinful attitudes and learn contentment in all kinds of situations.
Our problem is not that the Lord won’t provide for us, but that we so often fail to understand what our deepest needs are. God sees from an unlimited perspective and works for our eternal good, providing for us according to His good purposes from the limitless supply of “His riches in glory” (Phil. 4:19).
Instead of pleading with God to take away your difficulty, ask Him for strength and a new perspective. Although He may not always deliver you from trials, you can count on Him to help you learn contentment, no matter what your external needs may be.