Thursday, May 24, 2007

Trials for our joy

Audrea and I follow the blogs of some old friends from high school. Their latest posts have really been amazing testimonies to the goodness of God and they encouraged me so much! They have gone through the mire and mud of some really difficult trials in the last year and a half. I mean, really hard trials. It’s so easy to look at the trials that we go through and in the middle of them think, “God, I don’t know what kind of lunatic you are to think that this is not more than I can handle!” And then we come through the trial and begin to see some lightening of the burdens and then have moments like this when we read about others who have come through some recent trials. It’s then that I fall on my face and repent for such thoughts of unbelief that I had. God’s grace is always sufficient and always good and always brings us what we need most. Even though it seems to really suck in the middle of it.

For instance, I remember our move to Minneapolis in 2004 and how much of a trial it was at the time (things like kids swallowing innumerable pills thinking they were candy while mom tries to call dad to get help but dad can’t hear his cell phone, $7000 in credit card fraud, appliances not working, etc., etc.). And then we met our dear friend, Christian, who was here in the US seeking temporary asylum from Liberia. He had escaped the country after getting separated from his wife and not being able to find her. His worst fears were that she was dead just like his son who was shot right in front of him just after the rebels raped his wife and daughter. I met this man, heard his story, and fell on my face thinking what a wretch I am to complain. This is the same man who last night told me that he has determined that no matter whether good things or bad things happen to him, he will praise the Lord. Every time he prays, I hear him say, “Lord, we just wanna thank you for every condition that we find ourselves in.” This dear brother is recovering from prostate cancer surgery and from his attitude that radiates from him, you wouldn’t know it. By the way, his wife wasn’t dead. In fact, a year ago, our little church had the blessing of helping them be reunited here in the US.

The reality is as my friend observed on his blog: God is directing all circumstances for each of us in just the way He planned for His glory and our joy. It’s check-point moments like this in life that remind me that the joy He wants me to have does mean happiness, happiness in Him because nothing else will ever bring that.

(After I posted this, I found it "coincidental" that the verse of the day from the ESV website [which I just added to my blog feeds on the right] was 1 Peter 4:12-13!)

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