Always Content

The best high-and-low experience I had was when I was living in Uganda and joined a mission to the former child soldiers in Gulu, the same kids you see in the movie, Machine Gun Preacher. 1 We brought tons of donated food and showed the movie Jesus 2 with a running Acholi translator. We had to use a generator to show the movie on a projector, as there was no electricity.

We stayed in one of the “nicer” huts, which was literally a big mud circle with a concrete wall and an aluminum roof. The toilet was a separate little outhouse, complete with insects of all shapes and sizes. (On one occasion, I counted 18 spiders!) In the evening they brought us one jerry can of boiling water and another of cold water, and we had to mix them in a third bucket and take our showers behind the hut, under the stars. We ate a lot of interesting food, such as a spread made of blended termites. Not my favorite.

After a few days there, one of my coworkers and I had to return to Kampala. Some good friends of ours, the directors of the main telecom company, were leaving Uganda and we were invited to a big farewell function for them. In just a few hours, we went from blended termite paste to enjoying a multi-course dinner at the Sheraton five-star hotel and watching the biggest celebrity singers in the country perform. My friend and I loved the fact that while getting the royal treatment was wonderful, having come from a place where people had so little and we had to “rough it” made us that much more thankful.

Paul said in Philippians, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”3 That’s what made him truly realize, in the very next verse, “I can do all things through Christ.”4 He knew it wasn’t his own amazingness that accomplished anything, and he gave God the glory for the good he was able to do.

  1.  Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
  2.  Jesus (1999)
  3. Philippians 4:11–12
  4. Philippians 4:13