This week's memory verse:
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." - Nehemiah. 8:10
Boy, did I need that verse this past week! I apologize that I didn't do messages last week. For those of you that don't know, my husband was in a car accident last Monday night. He was in Grant hospital for several days and had a procedure to repair a slight tear in his aorta. I have spent a lot of time in prayer. Yes, I was scared, stressed out, worried and exhausted during this time, but the whole time, I knew...I felt God was with me AND with my husband, even though he didn't realize it. After seeing pictures if his car, I KNOW God was with him!
This week's lesson in our Bible study book is about growing in joy. Joy is one of my favorite topics. But this week, I found out about finding joy in pain and hardship.
The Psalms have many verses about pain and lament, but they are filled with verses of praise and joy, and also reminds us of where we can go for help:
"In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." -- Psalm 71:1-3
The rest of Psalm 71 is full of praise. All day long we should praise God for his great and saving acts. Since I love music so much, one way I show my praise to God is through song. Verses 22-24 speaks of playing instruments and singing to praise God.
But how do we sing praises to God when we are dealing with pain, frustration and worry? How do we find joy in our struggles?
David, who was called "a man after God's own heart" and one of the cornerstones of our faith...he messed up and suffered harsh consequences for his actions. He knew he messed up and relied on his relationship with God to comfort and save him from his sins. In Psalm 51:10-11, David speaks one of my FAVORITE verses:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me."
When I am struggling, I say this verse (and sing it too) and it reassures me that God IS LISTENING, knows that I am aware of my mess ups and that I am longing for his forgiveness. To some this may sound strange, but to me, it brings me hope and joy! When I lose my joy because of my situation, I go to God's word, and get connected to others who can support me, and then with time...I do feel better, and I begin finding my joy again.
So, this week, when I almost lost my husband and my world was turned upside down for a while...I prayed a lot, and was SO supported by friends and family. Many prayers were lifted up. No matter the result...I knew God was there! I was and am tired and exhausted right now, but I can still find joy in the situation!! Thank you God!
That is my prayer for you, my friends. No matter what situation you are in...find God in it and find the joy in your good times AND in your struggles too!