Last year, I selected one word to focus on. That word was “Purge.”
This year, I want to go in a different direction. While I loved the word I selected last year, and it was exactly what I need at that time, this year, I need something else. Something more.
The verses I mention above are as follows: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2 – 4KJV
If the end of 2013 is any indication of how 2014 will start, I must commit to “counting it all joy” no matter what comes my way. In the last 2 weeks, my 2 year old had a seizure, and my step-father was admitted into the hospital with tumors. I have been hurt and let down by people I love dearly. And while every part of me wants to sit down, cry, and ask, “Why, God?!” I will stand firmly on the words of my Jesus, and I will choose joy.
Our church has been in revival this week, and man! Has it been good! I’m pretty sure each message was written and every word spoken was just for me. The most powerful message, though, was one that Brother Gary Crisp preached on Monday night. The passage of Scripture he used was Luke 10:25 – 37, the story of the Good Samaritan. He didn’t preach on us needing to be like the Good Samaritan, instead, he preached on how the Christian life is like that of the man that was on the journey… the one that fell among thieves, was wounded, and half dead.
I will tell you, in the past few weeks, I have felt half dead.
In his message, Brother Crisp mentioned the hurt of “church hurt.” I can only think of a few things that hurt worse than the feeling of another man or woman of God causing you hurt. I have felt this hurt, and it has left me feeling half dead. I’ve had other friends that have lied to me, deceived me, belittled me, and just let me down. I’ve listened to my mom cry into the phone, “I can’t go through this again…” as the threat of cancer rages in the life of her husband. (My daddy died of cancer 15 years ago. My mom was my rock during that time. My heart aches that she is even dealing with this again.) I spent hours in the hospital not knowing why my son went into a violent seizure in the middle of a church service. I have shed so many tears in the past month… more tears than I can count.
BUT… I WILL CHOOSE JOY.
During last night’s service, one of the pastors said, “Don’t give up. You might be one prayer away from the answer you’ve been searching for. Press on.”
So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to press on. I will remain faithful to my Jesus. I will remain faithful to my church. I will read my Bible, and fill my heart and mind with the words God has just for me. I will pray for His direction for my life. Maybe I will never get to teach a Sunday School Class or lead a women’s Bible study. But I will press on. I will be faithful to the positions God has given me: A wife who prays for her husband diligently, a mother who teaches her children the importance of a life in Christ, a friend who can encourage others when they are down. If I can remain faithful to those things, maybe, just maybe, they will prepare me for something greater. And even if not, if I remain faithful, one day I can stand before the throne of God and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Because that’s what matters: What my Jesus thinks of me. Not what anyone else may think.
And whatever circumstance I am in, I will choose to rejoice. I have been blessed.
This year, won’t you choose joy too?