Saturday, January 26, 2013

Unexpected Joy

Have you ever wished for something, expecting one result, and ending up with something entirely different??
Like the gorgeous dress on the mannequin that looks bulky and all-wrong when you try it on?
Or the droolable recipe from Pinterest that turns out so badly you want to throw it in the trashcan before anyone sees it?
Yup, I have!

In some ways, my journey of faith bears some resemblance to these illustrations. At least, in the moment, it sure feels like it does! You see, recently I prayed for an increase in my faith, and a deeper understanding of what it meant to really know God. Good stuff, right? I thought so! I was excited about growing as a Christian and as a wife. Funny how those prayers get answered...

 Enter a myriad of big decisions, for our future and our business. We spent a good deal of time discussing our options and praying fervently for wisdom and direction. What happened next was what I call a refining process. {The part I'd rather skip over!} After pouring ourselves into making the right decision, the door closed. And at the same time, we experienced a significant financial loss because of a simple mistake. I felt like someone poured a bucket of cold water over my head and I couldn't quite catch my breath. It was a let-down in more ways than one, even though I felt peace, knowing that our prayers had been answered.

But as I struggled to accept the loss, and to stay in that place of "perfect peace", I got a hug from God, in the form of a text from a friend, with these verses from Romans 5.

 {5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.}

The light bulb suddenly came on! God is in the process of answering the very prayers I've been just looks quite a bit different from what I pictured! {Kinda like those failed Pinterest attempts} He knew the only way to grow my faith, and draw me to a deeper intimacy with Him was to  allow difficulty, even pain. It's funny how you can know these things in your head, but it doesn't connect to your heart until you get that revelation. And in the strangest of ways, it's a message of hope. For me, the knowledge that something good will come from something difficult makes the process so much more worthwhile!   

I compare it to having a baby: the anguish of labor pains is a necessary part of the process in delivering a precious child into the world. I think I can safely say that most women don't desire the pain, but they endure it, for the sake of the joy they will soon experience {and also because it's the only way to get that baby out!!! ha} But the reality is, suffering is often the only way God can do that deep work of building our character and drawing us to Himself. Even though I wouldn't choose some of these experiences, it's there I find hope. I find God. And all of this gives me joy! Crazy, isn't it? Yes, except that's how God works. He takes a big mess and makes something lovely out of it; not necessarily enjoyable, but so worth it in the end!

And I can assure you...He's not done with me yet! But I pray that even this small change within me becomes an deep well of joy that springs from nothing more than knowing Him.

:: Praying you find hope in the trials! ::

1 comment:

  1. Awww Ruby!! Bless you for posting this! It did my heart good & made me shed a few tears!! Love you!!