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Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to Consider It Pure Joy (When You Suffer)

Consider the opportunity to choose for joy when you are faced with horrendous situations. Such a choice is blessed. The more we choose joy the more mature God makes us — which is compensation for what we’ve been through.
~*~*~*~ James 1:2-4 paraphrased ~*~*~*~
This biblical wisdom isn’t for everyone but it should be, for anyone can apply this and reap handsome rewards: this wisdom of God’s. Why do I spruik it? I’ve lived it!
Indeed, there were times, about eleven years ago now, when I really had no choice but to choose the way the Scriptures told me to embrace the pit of despair my life had then come to be. Of course, I was so desperate for any help I could get from God that I diligently ran to the Word of God constantly. Scriptures like Galatians 6:9, Romans 5, 8, and 12, the above James passage, 2 Corinthians, and many of the psalms became staples to get through; a diet rich in spiritual hope.
I’ve never been through a worse time, before that or since. Not even the loss of Nathanael in 2014 was as bad as losing everything I valued — my first marriage and family as it was back then. I think this previous experience helped enormously regarding how would handle grief from then on. I know when all else is stripped away that I still have God.
Anything can happen to me; but, I still have God.
Can you say that?
This is where faith comes to be exigent; we have faith only when we obey God.
James 1:2-4 has about it one key premise — the way we express faith — and one key outcome — the blessings of growth in maturity, which is resilience and virtue.
The moment we understand the power in choosing the opportunity of joy in every difficult circumstance is the moment we become more able to do it.
Choosing joy is not about a fake or contrived happiness. Joy is the real hope in the midst of reality — not pretending everything is fine, but acting like everything will ultimately be okay. Joy in difficulty — which is an emotional steadiness to take the longer term view — is easiest when we realise the power of surrendering our anguish to God by the sheer will of obedience. Any other will would be forlorn, but not the will to honour God!
The more readily we apply the above, consistently, the more humble confidence we are blessed with. Suddenly as we see ourselves empowered like never before we have a blessing ever beyond our former reach. This is the value in loss. It teaches us what we could not gain otherwise.
God grows those who, with their integrity of realness, choose joy in their pain.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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