My last post was talking about joy and how we can set our minds and choose to find joy in each moment. Naturally, shortly after writing that post my “little cold” turned into bronchitis and the beginnings of pneumonia. As some of you know, I have a 5 month old son and my husband is in Iraq so that makes being sick just a little more tough. All of my friends keep telling me to “get lots of rest”. While this is great advice and I know they all mean well…..it is a little difficult to do when you are playing single mom to a 5 month old.
As I left the doctor’s office with this news of “you had better rest and take care of yourself or this will turn into full blow pneumonia!” I started to feel all kinds of sorry for myself. And then I almost immediately thought of what I wrote on my blog the previous day in reference to all the sufferings that different 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 longsuffering with JOYFULNESS” and in Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the LORD always: and again I say, Rejoice.” And 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).
Now putting things into perspective a little bit my being sick 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…..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 friends to come and help me watch Johnathan and 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” and 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 more patient person and I ask the Lord for patience, do you think He will just give me patients or do you think He gives me opportunities to practice Patience? I believe He gives me the opportunities….that is how we learn. When I ask the Lord to help me loose 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 even more 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.
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.