Posted by: kathryngraves | July 24, 2012

Joy in Your Troubles

We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character; and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. Romans 5:3-5 NCV

Troubles. When the pain of loss is so raw it’s almost physical, and when the physical pain of disease or its treatment is so intense we don’t know how to endure, these verses don’t seem comforting. When I fought cancer and the effects of treatment, I was so busy fighting I also fought God. I cried and threw my tissues all over the room. I slam-dunked them into the trash can and pounded my fists against the sofa pillows. As I sobbed, I told God, “I don’t want to finish treatment. I don’t want to have surgery. I never asked for this to happen and I’m angry!”

Healing. Once my tantrum subsided, cracks began to form in the crust of my anger. It was like God stood over me with a bottle of fragrant oil in His hand. As each fissure opened, He poured precious, expensive drops into it. After a while the oil seeped under the crust where it began healing me.

Hope. I took weeks instead of hours or days, but as I survived each dreaded event, more cracks appeared in my angry crust and more healing oil poured in. One day I realized I wanted to read these verses. I needed the hope and recognized some of the patience and character I’d gained on the way.

Joy. That’s when I found joy. The joy that comes from looking back and seeing how God brought me through. The joy that comes from knowing by experience that I’m never left to muddle through on my own. The joy, sheer joy, of resting in God’s presence every morning while He teaches me from the Bible and prayer. The joy of banished fear. Nothing scares me anymore. I’ve been through some of the worst that life on earth can dish out and God was with me, helping me. He will do it agin if needed.

And then, I’ll remember to savor the joy with my troubles from the beginning. Hope is worth it.

Photo/Kathryn Graves

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