One of the hardest parts about going through a trial or difficulty, is that it completely changes who you are. I’m sure you can relate.
Think back on the biggest struggle you have faced. Did you come out better or bitter? Did you walk out of it with fear or courage? Discouragement or praise-filled? I’m not saying that you have to walk around the house saying “oh, thank you so SO much for all of the struggles in my life.” Not that at all. But were you able to walk away from the struggle thanking God that He was with you? That He never left you? That He continued to love you?
I’ve had a hard time finding joy during my struggles at times. I have found myself discouraged, doubtful, and fearful. But those are feelings that thankfully, have not stayed with me in the long run. Because I forced myself to not let the discouragement of what I thought my life would look like, overtake the potential of what God wanted to do in me, in the future. Let me explain.
My life looks absolutely nothing like I thought it would. Even after not being able to have my own child, then having Mazy, I thought our life would be “normal.” But God has had a whole different idea and I fully admit I’ve been confused. I haven’t always been able to make sense of everything that He has allowed in my life. But after some serious heart-checking, talking with others, our pastor, and some deep thinking, I refused to let the pains of this world, prevent me from finding joy in the here and now. I want to look forward to how God is going to use all of this for HIS glory.
Forgetting to find joy in the midst of trials can be the start of a dangerous spiritual spiral that we can find ourselves too easily caught up in, if we don’t stay vigilant. When we spend too much time looking “out” (at others) instead of looking up (at God), we lose focus. We lose sight of the fact that God is a good God, that He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and has already walked the road we are walking. When we look out, we envy, become jealous, and see how everyone else “has it so good.” Which is completely false. And if we constantly spend our time counting our problems instead of our blessings, that joy can so easily be depleted. A joy that is meant to carry us through to eternity.
Trust me, it is not easy to be thinking “joyful” thoughts when you are in intense pain. When someone has walked out on you. When you feel fearful of what the future holds. But when you can train your mind to think upward, instead of outward, it will change your outlook on life.
I know that because it changed mine. My outlook completely changed when I finally released my fears of my severe heart failure to God. I still have them and I still fight this battle Every. Single. Day. Knowing He is using this to bring about a greater purpose outside of me – a purpose that is meant for HIS glory and not my own, there was a sense of comfort, peace, and joy that filled my heart.
The more I walk this journey of medical struggles, the more my eyes are opened to the pains of this world around me. Of those who struggle day after day, with different difficulties. Situations that I can’t imagine going through myself. But all the more, I want those who are walking the road of pain and strife, to see that GOD IS WORTH IT. He loves us SO deeply that He already walked the road of pain and suffering before us, so that He could understand exactly what we are going through. How is that for joy? For comfort? And love?