a guest post by Sarah Ishaku
On October 26, 1985, I was enjoying a good time with friends; suddenly I received news that my mother was seriously ill. The looks of my brother-in-law who brought the news to me indicated that there was something more; though he tried to conceal it, his actions were glaring. He could not hide the fact that he was also grieving; it was obvious that she was already dead.
Oh, how painful it is to lose a loved one, especially a mother. My mother was the source of my joy; what would I make out of life again? I wondered in my mind as I wept bitterly. Everywhere became dark within those days. Nothing made sense anymore; even my best food was no longer appealing. Life tends to be sweet when all is well, but when things take a different turn, we hardly see any good in it.
Lasting Joy is Found in Christ
After the death of my mother, I was left with no other choice than to trust in God completely. It was then that I experienced true joy that is found in Christ. Since that time I developed the courage to face the future with confidence; knowing that God is with me. Yes, though the journey hasn’t been free from obstacles, God has always been there for me at the right time, and I know He will always be.
Perhaps you are reading this post because you are also stuck in life; you may have been searching for happiness with little or no result? Maybe like me then, your expectation has been cut short and you feel joyless and hopeless. When faced with bad situations God seems to be very far away from us. When we are overwhelmed with emotions we don’t feel His presence around us anymore. Many of us in our pain have cried, oh Lord, where are you? Phillip Yancey asked that question in his popular book titled, Where is God when it Hurts. Have you ever asked such a question? I guess you have; in one way or the other.
Joy Wrapped in Pain
The presence of evil in this world poses challenges on our life journey. As a result, we cannot avoid its troubles, but we can avoid the impact of its troubles on us. As the saying goes, “You cannot stop the bird from flying, but you can stop it from building a nest on your head”. God did not promise us a problem-free world, but He promised to deliver us from any problems we may encounter. When Jesus was about to leave this world He told His disciples what they were going to pass through. Then He said,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. John 16:33
What Are You Facing?
Dear reader, what are you facing right now? Are there challenges that seem overwhelming, and you are almost losing hope? God is calling you by name, just as he addressed the Israelites; He is addressing you by name saying,
“He who created you,( your name), He who formed you ( your name).Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” Isaiah 43:1-2
What can be as comforting and promising as this?
If the king of the universe said you should not fear, then you don’t need to fear the storm because He is right there with you in the storm. Your boat will not capsize; you will reach the shore safely. God is ever present with those who trust in Him in whatever situation; both in good times and bad times. He loves us dearly that He cannot abandon us even for a second.
God’s Purpose in All Things
The fact that God allows challenges to come our way does not mean He is handicapped or doesn’t love us, but He has a purpose for everything. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our thoughts His thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9. He has good plans for us, plans to prosper us, and not to harm us; to give us hope and a future. Jer.29:11
The Scripture says,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. James 1:2-4
What is James telling us here, is there joy in pain? According to the Scripture; yes. I can almost hear you ask, how? God chooses to use challenges to mold us into the kind of people He wants us to become. For only then we can achieve our destiny.
Food for thought
The poem recounts a dream of a man who walked with the Lord along a beach. He could see two sets of footprints in the sand. At certain times, however, only one set of footprints appeared. The man asked the Lord why, when he needed God the most, He would leave him alone. God explained that during the most troubling times, He didn’t leave the man but carried him along his journey.
Encouraging; isn’t it?
One Requirement for Lasting Joy
All we need to enjoy lasting joy is to remain steadfast in Christ. When faced with life challenges we should remember that:
- In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Rom.8:28
- He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all; how will He not also, along with him graciously give us all things? Rom.8:33
- If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom.8:31b
- No one.
Sarah Ishaku is a Pastor’s wife; a writer and a speaker. She is passionate about helping women in their marital struggles. Sarah blogs at www.thewomanworth.com
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