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Friday, December 17, 2010

Joy in the midst of pain

What is joy worth if it's easy?

Why would God require it of us if it came naturally already?

I know.  It doesn't.

When I suffer, I know that joy is not my first human-nature response.  But I want it to be.

Last night as I was reading a book I got really convicted about joy.  I tend to think of myself as a generally happy, positive person, but as I did a little heart searching I could all of a sudden see so many ways that I'm lacking in the joy department.

It made me sort of sad, but at the same time, glad that God loves me enough not to leave me where I'm at.

So I'm on a quest for joy.  Want to join me?  :-)

A little background on my current struggle...finding joy in physical pain. 

This week I'm 33 weeks pregnant.  While sometimes it seems that this pregnancy has passed fast, most of the time I am just waiting for it to be over.  Physically this pregnancy has been full of suffering.  I really can't ever remember being in almost constant discomfort and pain that lasted for so many months before.

In this physical suffering has come a new search for joy.  A new search to glorify Jesus through suffering.  A new compassion for those who suffer from physically painful conditions that don't go away.  I know many people live with pain every day, and I feel so ashamed for complaining. 

Not to say that I have been an irritable and moody person all the time, but I have been that enough.  I know that when I feel bad I tend to be less patient and I tend to be more easily irritated.  I know that can't be pleasant to be around.

I'm not saying however, that it is never ok to let on that I'm in pain, but rather just that I need to work on focusing less on the pain and more on the joy of the Lord.  I am more than thankful for a tender and caring husband who has been so patient and loving to me through this hard time.

God is growing me.

It hurts, but I don't think I grow quite the same when things are always pleasant.  So I'm thankful.

Something that challenged me the other night was thinking about how I look when my husband comes home from work.  Am I smiling?  Does my face reflect joy?  Or is is only full of suffering and tiredness? 

When I talk with my husband on the phone during the day, does he hear joy in my voice? 

Do my children see joy on my face and hear joy in my voice as we go about our day?

God doesn't just want us to have joy when things are going great, but in the midst of suffering and trials as well.  No matter what the circumstances we can find "fullness of joy" in His presence if we choose to dwell there.

Whew.  I've got a lot to work on.  :-)

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."     - Psalm 16:11

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness."     - James 1:2-3


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder! My first pregnancy was nine months of pain and looking back on it I did not have joy during those months. And, after reading your post, I realize that, even though I'm not in the middle of physical pain, I still have a problem in the "joy department". Definitely something to focus and work on during this holiday season!! :-)

More Than Photography said...

Thanks Sarah! I needed that reminder today. :) This move has caused me to be irritable and anxious. So I am going to be working on Joy also.

Katie said...

What a beautiful post. The think I need to start asking myself similar questions each and every day.