The question is often asked of Christians, “How do you stay so happy during this difficult time?”
As a husband and father who is trying to put all of the pieces back together myself, I struggle at times with the uncertainty and finality of things. I want to get there now.
But I know that God wants me to share what he has told me in His word.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
After my brain tumor surgery, I awoke and could not see much of anything except for a little light and shadows. I was totally blind. It nearly scared me half to death. For the rest of the day I had physicians coming in and out of my room asking me if I could see.
By nightfall, and early into the next morning as I was being constantly observed, my vision got to the point that I could barely see light. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.
The nurse on staff quickly paged the surgeon who wanted to take me back into surgery.
I pleaded with them to wait. I wanted to make sure that my family and friends would be praying for me during the next surgery.
Although I am still considered legally blind, God did something that night. He miraculously allowed me to obtain some of my vision back. I continue to work through being legally blind today.
But as tough as it has been to be considered blind and to get it back together, I have to remember that God didn’t send the Jews to the dessert for a weekend retreat. Nor will he solve all of my problems in a weekend.
It is up to me how I choose to look at my circumstances. I can look at it the way that the world does and dwell there and miss God working in my life, or I can choose the positive, which is to look at my circumstances the way God would have me look at it, and see God working in my life.
It is in the work of God that gives me joy, and wherever God is working He wants us to take pleasure.
Isn’t it it great to see God working rather than not working? Isn’t it good to know that God has chosen you for the blessing of suffering?
In suffering there is ample opportunity, which includes “joy in the juncture”, to shine for Jesus and to let the world know that no matter what the peril, you continue to look upward to your heavenly father. That you accept the opportunity to bless others with your unmoved and unfaltering faith that comes from knowing Christ.
The question asked should not be “Why do bad things happen to good people.” The question should be “What are good people of faith going to do with the blessing and opportunity that they have been given?”
Besides, in life’s ups and downs, when you are on that upside, you know that there is bound to be a downside.
Joy in the juncture cannot be of our own doing. If left to ourself and on our own, we would self destruct in the hard times.
Be Free To Live With Joy In The Junction
What enables us is the power of God allowing us to be free from ourselves and to not lean on our own understanding. As believers in Jesus Christ we have a higher calling that is so much greater than ourselves.
The hard times that we face, whether it be overcoming a job loss, recovering from the loss of a loved one, debilitating health problems, divorce, or financial hardship are not pleasant. But in the midst of all the striving, Jesus gives us peace. Through Christ we have overcome the world. Your faith overcomes anything that the world can throw at you.
Many times as Christians, we relinquish our faith and try to overcome the challenges on our own. When this happens it is because we were already leaning more on our own understanding rather than leaning on the understanding of God’s will for our life. This is where we often make painful mistakes along the way. These mistakes will cause us grief one day when we realize that we didn’t give Jesus our everything. We will one day soon come to the final realization the He gave everything that he had to give and we did not reciprocate. The knowledge of this will be regretful.
Joyfully however, for those who continue to prepare for the battle ahead, and put on the full armor of God, will be rewarded in simply knowing that through it all, they were faithful and gave Christ everything they had in return.
In the difficulty there is opportunity…
What will you do? Will you lean on your own understanding, or move forward in the direction of Christ and receive the reward and blessing in knowing that you gave Jesus everything that you had to give.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2:14 ESV)
What the world says about being an overcomer is wrong. All you need is to abide in God. Because of your faith, you have strength to overcome. Because of your faith, you continue to be strong and an overcomer.
“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
When God’s power is in you, you are an overcomer. This is great news!
When I learned that I would need surgery, I felt God’s power in me more that I can ever remember. I knew this was something that I had to do.
When I decided to go through with the surgery, I felt a sense of peace that came over me. I knew that I would be alright no matter the outcome.
I took refuge in Christ. He helped me to get through. He reminded me of his love for me. How he had always carried me before. How he would not let go of me now.
When my sky darkened with the news of a brain tumor, yes my heart sank, but Christ lifted me up, and told me to not fear.
He gave me a verse that is my favorite one to this day. It is my family’s favorite verse. It goes like this:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
As we retreated to the beach before the surgery, we all read this verse out loud many times until we each had it memorized. We knew everything would be alright.
God wants you to grasp all that he has for you. Whether in the best times or the worst, the power of God and the faith that He gives will allow you to rely solely and entirely upon him.
Today, make a decision to grasp everything that he has for you.
In the midst of what Christ has for you today, reach out and grasp.
Ephesians 6:18 “Pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
I once realized how much my prayer life had been lacking. This realization was hard for me for what I had been missing with God.
A family that prays together, stays together.
Missing what “could have been” according to God’s plan is a big deal. Especially whenever it wasn’t just me, it was my whole family too.
Being a husband and father is a big deal and I felt that I wasn’t preparing them enough for battle.
I made a decision to not miss out on His plan any longer. And I decided to not let my wife and family down in hat way again. We had all been missing a much richer and more meaningful walk with God.
Regarding my past prayer life, most of it was prayer on the fly, which is okay too but not when you don’t have that quiet time with God that you really need when you are truly seeking him. When I watched the video below by Francis Chan, it made me think a lot about myself.
The truth is that most of the time as I prayed I was merely going through the motions. It became very ritualistic. I would almost say the same things when I prayed.
When God’s word revealed to me how to really pray, I then did a lot of searching and asked God about how my prayer life had been.
As I have taken my prayer life with Christ more seriously now and totally relinquished myself to Him, letting the spirit fill me and pour out of me, I become less and He becomes more. During this time when I pray I am literally praying with the spirit inside of me. It is an amazing feeling.
Improve your prayer life and improve y walk with God.
There are three things that have truly helped me in my prayer life and my walk with God.
The first thing is that I have found the way to consistently fellowship with the spirit is through daily devotion. For me to meditate on God’s word and daily ask the Holy Spirit to fill me. Let Jesus fight the battle and let Jesus have victory over the strongholds in my life. To be more intentional in everything that I do. Dig deeper into God’s word. It’s not about how much I read, it is however, about how I read. And that everything I need is in the Bible. God’s love letter is written to me and to you directly.
The second thing is that I have found to help develop your prayer life is to develop your own prayer journal. This is a journal that will help you to organize your personal life and also your prayer life. And as you journal, keep a separate page for what God is saying to you through reading the scriptures. And you can also keep a log of what you are saying to God in return.
In doing this, you can then look back over time to see how God has worked in your life. How you may have been struggling with something and how much God moved through the situation. How God provided healing, or provided for a need that you or someone else may have had.
The third thing is to have a prayer partner. It is a hard thing to have a prayer partner at first. But it needs to be someone you feel you know and trust. When you pray about it, God will reveal who that person is.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video below on the very subject of prayer. It spoke volumes to me.