As I left the doctor’s office with news of “You had better rest and take care of yourself or your body is going to shut down on you!” I started to feel all kinds of sorry for myself. Poor me. Why me? How can I possibly rest with three kids and a deployed husband?
And then a thought stopped me right in my tracks.
I immediately thought of what I had written on my blog the previous day. It was in reference to all the sufferings that people in the Bible went through and how Paul tells us in Colossians 1:11 that we are to be “Strengthened with all might, according to[God’s] glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with JOYFULNESS;”
And in Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
The perfect picture of JOY is found in the life of Jesus…“who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Suddenly I began putting things into perspective. A little sickness or pain doesn’t seem nearly as tragic as “enduring the cross!” And even in those unimaginable circumstances there was JOY. Maybe not happiness or a big smile, but there was joy.
So I am sick. But at least this is the first time I have been sick this year and I don’t live in plagued and infected villages. I have health insurance, and a great doctor to see me right away. I have medicine to take to make me better. I have a great baby who does sleep through the night and who isn’t screaming all the time. I have friends and family to pray for my healing. I have a community of people to make sure I am ok. I am SO BLESSED.
Do you see what just happened? Did you see how easy that just was? I found joy even in my sickness!
I often have to remind myself that when I ask the Lord for something, He always hears me and He always answers.
The answer might be “no” or maybe “wait.” The answer might not be what I am looking for, but He never fails to tell me something.
When I tell the Lord that I want to be a stronger person and I ask the Lord for strength and endurance, do you think He will just give it to me instantly, or do you think He gives me opportunities to grow my endurance and strengthen my resolve? I believe He gives me the opportunities. That is how we learn.
When I ask the Lord to help me lose weight and get in shape, do you think He just zaps 20lbs off of me, or do you think He gives me opportunities to make a better food decision?
When I ask the Lord to help me find joy in every moment of my life should I expect Him to just smack me in the face with a dump truck load of joy, or do you think He might give me circumstances in which He can prove to me that even in the midst of a storm, He is there? And, if I would just quit wallowing in my own self-pity and look to Him for a moment, I would find JOY in that storm!
I believe that our God is in the business of teaching us to be more like Him, not just wham-bam your prayers are answered. Does He answer our prayers like that sometimes? Sure. But we must LEARN and CHOOSE to be more like Him every day.
Our God is in the business of teaching us to be more like Him
What are you in the midst of right now and how can I help you find joy in that storm?
Because there IS JOY in every moment and God wants you to find it. You can only find it when you focus your eyes on Him and know and trust that He is in control and He knows what is best for your life.