Thursday, December 11, 2014

But it Hurts Lord

James 1:2-4  Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

This year has been full of trials, hurts and disappointments. I didn't know 365 days could hold so much pain and tears. Who knew that growth would actually mean there were growing pains and horrible achy stretchy feelings that would emerge. You feel like you just couldn't bear to handle another day of it. That if you are let down, abandoned, hurt and misunderstood one more time you may burst.

But you know what makes this time so strange is the many times I have called on the name of God and He came to my rescue. When I praised Him through all my circumstances and through all of my pain it really changed me. With the passing of a family member, I was surprised that I was even able to worship God. How was it possible to be so heartbroken and still sing? I even had joy. I had every reason to fall apart and crawl into a little heap but I chose a better way. It hasn't always been easy.

I can say with all honesty that this has been the most difficult and the most emotionally exhausting year of my life. There were times I have not wanted to read my Bible and I didn't want to sing or dance. I couldn't even summon up enough energy to put some music on. I had moments when I was so depressed sometimes for no apparent reason that I didn't even want to get out of bed. There were days I didn't really care to do anything. I am grateful to God for my 4 children and a husband who works so hard. Having a family to care for forced me to get up out of bed. When my husband was away for work, the kids were sick and there was no one to look after them but me, I had to get up.
They also make me laugh and bring me great joy. Even on the worst of days they are always there. He knew what He was doing. Yes my hands are full but God made sure they were full as well as my heart because He knew how much I desired and needed my family in my life.

I can look back on this year with so many feelings but one thing that sticks out the most is joy. Joy is not a feeling but a state of being. It defeats all odds and overcomes all emotions.

God came to me and answered me when I called on Him. The Holy Spirit comforted me in my deepest grief and despair. When I didn't think I could anymore, there was God before me, encouraging me and spurring me on.

I have endured and I have overcome. I possess Victory. I stand as tall and as straight as a Palm Tree through all of the storms that come my way because I belong to the Most High God. This year I have learned to praise Him through the good, the bad and the horrible. He has given me a new song to sing and I will sing it so that others may hear it and be set free.

Psalm 40 sums up this year for me.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing,

    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.
 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
    who have no confidence in the proud
    or in those who worship idols.

Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.

    Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
    You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
    I would never come to the end of them.
 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
    Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]
    you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

Then I said, “Look, I have come.

    As is written about me in the Scriptures:
 I take joy in doing your will, my God,
    for your instructions are written on my heart.”
 I have told all your people about your justice.
    I have not been afraid to speak out,
    as you, O Lord, well know.
 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
    of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
    Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
 For troubles surround me—
    too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
    I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
    I have lost all courage.
 Please, Lord, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
 May those who try to destroy me
    be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
    be turned back in disgrace.
 Let them be horrified by their shame,
    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
 But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”

As for me, since I am poor and needy,

    let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
    O my God, do not delay.

So today if you feel overwhelmed and like the world is about to fall down on you, remember God is always with you. It hurts but we have joy and a God we can worship through any circumstance.

Lord, thank you when trials come our way. Thank you for every circumstance that is brought out way to test us, grow us and strengthen us. Thank you Lord that you are always with us through all these things. Help us to fix our eyes on You and not the magnitude of our troubles. May we consider it a great joy when we suffer, when we hurt and when we overcome. Amen