Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Joy Thief

Sometimes, when things don't go the way I think they should, I step out of faith and into a place of self-sufficiency. I take the power away from God, where it belongs, and wrestle with it on my own.

It never works out for me. I end up defeated, exhausted, and humbled, giving the control back to God, back to the only One who has the wisdom and love and understanding to manage my life.

You'd think I'd know by now. Scratch that, you'd think I'd understand by know. Because I do know. The moment I begin to dwell on how it should be, I know I'm stepping in quicksand. But I do it anyway: I doubt, I whine, I compare myself to others and to the world. And I begin to sink.

When I look back on my life, and especially on those times when things weren't going my way and I had to trust that the Lord was working, I never think, "I could have planned that out better." Why, then, is it so difficult to employ that same mindset on current struggles? Why is it so hard to trust the One who knows the way through the wilderness? Why do I insist on fumbling my own way through?

Real faith in God requires me to trust His hand 100% of the time, not just when He is doing things they way I would. Real faith in God requires me to understand that God is good even when I don't get what I want. To accept that sometimes I will feel pain, sometimes I will cry, sometimes my heart will hurt and things will look pretty dismal. It's during that time when I need to pry my eyes off the world and focus squarely on my Lord.

He is my Joy. And He can never be lessened.

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.

Philippians 4: 4-9

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