|Mothers Day a few years ago|
Since my last post I have been taking my dad to physical therapy and took my mother to two doctor's appointments only to find out we need to see two other doctors! Oh my goodness...she has a bad case of bronchitis, and we need to see about two other things that have developed with her. I have tried to make these events fun for them and my mom loved riding in my convertible with her hair blowing. I am probably the only single woman that drives a convertible with walkers in the back seat!
I have also been helping my father with some of his personal affairs in order. I know this season will pass. There are great rewards for honoring your parents and I am discovering more of God's grace to do things I never thought possible. His grace ours over me and I am thankful.
Below is an article I wrote for the Kerrville Daily Times.
Permission to Enjoy Trials
In the past few weeks, I have run into a number of people who are struggling with some very difficult issues in their lives. Hardship and difficulty are just part of life here on earth. I heard a variety of difficulties this week; everything from marriage problems, divorce, heartache, child custody, law suits, adultery, financial problems, challenges with health, and difficulties with children. I have personally had my own things to overcome with my aging parents having been hospitalized 8 times since my husband of 30 years past away 19 months ago.
I have asked God to help me see my adversity from His view point. I think I found the answer in I Peter 4:12. It views all the above challenges from a different perspective. It says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange is happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (NIV)
Several things stood out for me in this passage. First, painful trials are normal, and we should not view them as strange. Actually we should be surprised if we do not have trials! Next, I discovered that we have permission from God to enjoy these trials. There is a tendency when trials come that we should also be miserable. Not so! We have a God given permission to enjoy ourselves in times of trial. God wants us to! And if He wants us to, we should.
The word “rejoice,” as it is defined in its literal translation, actually means: calmly happy or well off, cheerful or joyful. God sees our trials as a privilege because we get to know Him better if we choose to...or we can just whine and be miserable! What an honor to get to know the heart of almighty God and become more intimate with Him, but it is a discipline to keep this perspective—trust me on this one!
Yes, things we endure may really be painful. To the degree we experience pain is also the degree we get to experience joy as we anticipate and see His purpose revealed and how it works for our good. Now that is good news! We must hang on to this promise when things are difficult. For me personally, I have developed a greater compassion that I did not have before watching people I love suffer. Compassion is what moved Jesus and should move the Body of Christ. Oftentimes as believers, we are moved more by our knowledge or judgment than compassion for those in crisis or bondage. I believe God is developing many to have a heart like His.
Sometimes we suffer because of wrong choices we have made. That is called a consequence of our behavior. It is extremely difficult, though, when we suffer unjustly or for things in which we do not have a choice. For example, it was very heart breaking to watch my husband suffer from cancer and what I personally went through was not because of a wrong choice I made. Scripture addresses this also. I Peter 2:19 says, “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it, this is commendable before God.” Bearing up or endurance is of great value and is only developed in hard times. We live in a microwave society, and many Christians are weak because they have stopped believing God or blame Him when things get tough. I feel God is raising up a people who are strong, full of strength, radiant and who are trusting Him.
Endurance produces strength in the physical as well as in the spiritual sense. As a runner, I know that the more I endure a jog or the further I go, no matter how painful, the more strength I have. It takes lots of time and energy to develop physical strength. It is the same in our spiritual life, and God sees us much stronger than we do. I Peter 4:19 says: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (NIV)
God tells us that suffering is part of His will because it produces good fruit, and we just need to surrender to the process and pour out goodness to those around us. The best part is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are with us to help us. When we are God conscious, we can go through our trials with peace, comfort and joy and those strengthen us.
Let us be a community that is rejoicing and overcoming, because only goodness pours out of us no matter what.
Blessings of grace and joy,