I don’t know about you, but when I hit a difficult situation my first thought is something like “how do I make it through this with as little discomfort as possible?” I know I thought this when my children were showing me their food forcefully from both ends last week while I was fighting back my own. And I have thought this every day that David has been gone this week. (He’s gone for 8 days at Exodus International’s annual Freedom Conference.) But in the midst of these situations, and others!, it is rarely my goal to search for how these circumstances might be furthering the Kingdom. More often than not, I am unaware of how I might choose joy over complaining…or even joy over silence!
This morning, I happened upon a gem that seemed perfect in timing as I face the longest, most challenging day with my babies yet. It is from Brownback’s Joy. This snippet is taken from Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” There’s no mention of “joy” in this passage, you’re thinking. I know, right?! Hold on, though. Check these out:
– “…From the moment [Paul] met his Savior, Jesus became his life. When trials crashed in on him, he was not crushed, because he viewed everything that happened to him as an instrument to advance God’s kingdom. That’s why he was joyful during the setbacks, disappointments, and difficulties.”
– “…rarely do we find ourselves joyful in the midst of [a rough season].”
– “[Paul] had no idea if his circumstances would work out so that his life could flow along comfortably, but he knew that God’s kingdom would advance through the outcome, whatever it was.”
– “The reason we lack joy in our trials is that we are set on an outcome that will make our lives easier.”
– “It isn’t human to rejoice in suffering; it is supernatural. God is glorified not by calling strong women but by giving his strength to weak women.”
– “Being called to suffer is actually a privilege. Each trial is a gift. It’s a chance to know God’s strength and supernatural joy and to show that following him is worth everything.”
Wow. That just might affect the way I toss prayers up to the Lord today – prayers that usually are seeking my peace of mind, comfort or happiness. Maybe the Lord actually has plans for my DIScomfort in the midst of three fussy, crying babies. Certainly, they are not “trials” in light of what Paul walked through, but they certainly are very “trying!” Maybe I can find joy in releasing my hubby to serve God’s people today – amid all the poopy diapers, spit-up and fussy babies. I’m sure I’ll need His strength, though, to do this; I’m so grateful He will be helping me!