Let me begin this post, by saying “Our God is SO Good, and I am Overwhelmed with JOY”.
This isnt just me saying “I am content where I am, because God is just ‘blessing me real good’ right now” kind of JOY either. It’s pure Joy, that comes from within, and I’d like to share a little bit about how I got it.
In short, I was broken. A medical diagnosis had rattled me, and while I was “holding it together”, I was constantly thinking about it, letting it invade my thoughts, my time, and my life as a whole.
I would hear a song on the radio, and cry, relating the lyrics to my pain. I would see a new born baby, and my mind would wonder “Will I ever have another of my own?”
I even dreamed about the situation, and all the many ways it could unfold, because it was constantly on my mind.
I never gave up on God, never became angry, bitter, or even worried that He wasn’t hearing or answering my prayers; but I didn’t have JOY in Him, and I wasn’t giving Him any place or glory in that situation.
Giving Him GLORY in the good times is easy, wouldn’t you agree? But seeking to give Him GLORY in the difficult times is something that I learned from example; and I found that in the process of pain, SERVING can bring that JOY unspeakable.
1 Peter 1:7-9
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto PRAISE and HONOUR and GLORY at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with JOY unspeakable and full of glory:
Tuesday morning, I received a text message from my friend, as she began the steps of a very difficult trial. She was heading to the hospital to deliver her son, Ezra Coleman Taube, who had passed away.
My heart HURT for her. I sat there, looking at my phone, wondering in my head “could the Doctors be wrong? God, Let the doctors be wrong” and I ached for her.
It was easy for me to encourage her to stay strong, that God was still Good, and that she was going to get through this, because I knew all of those things were true for her life, but I wasnt living it in my own.
I waited in anticipation for each update, and prayed for her constantly. When the news came that he had been delivered, I imagined my sweet friend, holding her son, and the feelings that she must have experienced. Again, I hurt for her, as if she were my sister.
I then made myself so available for her (probably to the point of being pushy and annoying) and basically forced her to let me be a part of this journey. I did the only thing I could think of (that I was remotely qualified to do) and that was to offer to take her daughter, Jolynn, for as long as she needed to recover. By the end of the week, my two year old daughter thought that Jolynn was her little sister, and has cried on the nights that she hasn’t been with us when bedtime came.
I never stopped praying for Amber, Paul and their families…I wanted nothing more than to meet any of the needs that they had. I felt pain for them, and mourned with them, because I love them; and I was encouraged by them, when they, throughout this entire process, sought for God to be Glorified.
I learned a few things this past week, that arent profound or deep, but they were influential in obtaining the JOY that I have found.
– Give God Glory. Watching Amber go through this trial, that is painful, and hard to bear, all while seeking to bring God glory impacted me to my core. I realized that by NOT giving God praise in trials, I was robbing him of Glory. I am not saying that we have to say “Thank you God, for allowing this hurt, and for my heart to be broken” with a huge smile on our faces; but if I could learn to say “God, you are good, and you are right; help me to point others to you, as you mend my broken heart” we could further the reach of God’s grace to those around us. (who are probably also hurting)
– Relative Suffering. What I mean by that is: just because someone else’s trial may be “Worse” than ours, it doesn’t make it any less difficult for us. It’s okay for me to still have a longing heart for an answer to prayer…its okay for me to even still hurt…but the difference lies in knowing that our trials do not define us. Knowing who I am in Christ is more than my problem. I am HIS, and He is MINE, and I have nothing to fear; but it is okay to hurt…we were created with the ability to feel, so that we could be effective ministers of Christ, in pain, and in JOY.
– Minister. When you are so busy ministering, its makes it easier to move past ourselves. You know, its amazing to me that this entire week, I havent been weighted down with my own burden at all, because I was focusing on someone elses’. That’s not good math, is it?
1 Burden(Mine)+Another’s burden= A spirit of Joy, free from care.
I stopped sulking, and constantly seeing my problem when I replaced it with someone else’s need. Amazing how that works, isnt it?
We all have trials along the way, some “Greater” than others, but I cant even begin to explain the JOY that has come from seeing GOD glorified in trials, by looking for HIS hand even in the hard times– by realizing that those things don’t define me, and by learning to minister, even when broken. God is so good, He really is.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto PRAISE and HONOUR and GLORY at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”