As Christians, most of us know the well-rehearsed verse "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,..." (James 1:2). But most of us don't really understand what it means to consider our trials a joy—especially when the reality of it finally sets in and takes us down a road we never meant to travel...if we let it.
I'm nearly seven weeks out from my latest surgery; the worst and most painful experience I can remember. And now, at last, the reality of it all is finally beginning to set in: nights with interrupted sleep, the confinement of a brace, the weakness I notice when I don't have it on, the fatigue...oh, the fatigue. Yes, it's all starting to become very old and very real, making the "joy" in this trial appear as if it's impossible to grasp. But God promises everything is not as they appear (2 Cor 4:16-18). So I look to Him and not to that which I can only see.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come?My help comes from the LORD,who made heaven and earth.He will not let your foot be moved;He who keeps you will not slumber.Behold, He who keeps Israelwill neither slumber nor sleep.The LORD is your keeper;the LORD is your shade on your right hand.The sun shall not strike you by day,nor the moon by night.The LORD will keep you from all evil;He will keep your life.The LORD will keepyour going out and your coming infrom this time forth and forevermore."~PSALM 121
Refreshing. Comforting. Enlightening. I love God's word. Don't you?
Now, before I go on, let me make one thing clear lest anyone take this beautiful passage of Scripture and mutilate it with their own perverse thinking. God is most certainly not saying here that nothing "bad" (evil) will ever happen to you. No, read the rest of that sentence, "He will keep your life." Now that's quite a different thing than promising that all you days will be filled with nothing but happiness, health, wealth and ease. Far from it. It means so much more. The LORD of heaven and earth is promising that those who fear Him, have repented and trusted in the name of His one and only Son, will have their life hid and protected in Him and therefore will never be in danger or fear of the second death; which is eternal damnation in Hell; for their life is kept by God, with God and for God...alone.
Being a child of God means so much more than the false teachers of prosperity (i.e., Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, etc.) preach today. God's word promises that our lives are kept by Him. We are eternally His; it just doesn't get any better than that. There is no degree of health or wealth that trumps this promise: my life is hid in Christ (Psalm 27:5).
So when the reality of this trial set in, I began to grow quite weary of this surgery that has a nine month recovery period, countless limitations, added measures to keep my back safe, extreme fatigue, the brace, struggling with a self-pitying bad attitude, and a tired and wearied not-so-"sunny" disposition. As a matter of fact, I believe there are days I could change my name to "mildly cloudy with a chance of showers, so don't provoke me" or "severe weather ahead, take cover and don't come near". But even still, in the midst of the reality of this trial and the weariness of it all, I am grateful that my life is hid in Christ; my life is kept by God Almighty, and in due time, He will lift me up from this place and I will be healed (whether it be on this side of Heaven or not, I do not know, nor do I care).
I know all I need to know: though the waves of reality come crashing down on me, once I cry out to my glorious Savior, He always, immediately reaches out His hand and lifts me up to where He is; on steady footing and in His presence so I can see things the way He does: with eternity in view (Matt 14:30-33; Is 43:1-2).
This is not my home. This body is not my permanent body. These limitations are temporary. And one day, I will have a new, perfect body; one without sin. One day, I will see my Lord in His full glory. One day, I will be free from every trouble in this world and live the rest of my days in Heaven, with my God, my Savior. One day, I will be able to worship Him as He is due (1 Chron 16:29), and I will be able to do this faithfully without the constant interruptions of this flesh of sin.
One day, I'll be Home.
"I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."~Psalm 40:1-3
This is my prayer.
If you're reading this today and you realize you don't have the same assurance I have, please contact me. I'd love to share the love of Christ with you.