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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Choosing to rejoice in difficult circumstances

Pilgrim-BibleRev. Mike Shiery

Pastor: Pilgrim Bible Church

West Pine Street • Cedar Springs • 696-1021

 

Given a choice, I’m sure that almost everybody would prefer the moments in life where everything seems placid and calm. Those days when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all seems right with the world. The cheerful words of the old song come to mind:

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-a, My oh my what a wonderful day. 

Unfortunately, reality is that many times our days aren’t like that at all. Perhaps it’s a marriage that has dissolved from a dream to a nightmare. Or it could be a child that has deeply disappointed us, a family member that is terminally ill, the loss of a job and financial security, or any other number of possibilities that haunt the corridors of our mind and threaten our peace and joy.

How are we supposed to handle events like these? The human instinct is to complain, gripe, and even grow bitter. God’s Word gives us a drastically different conclusion.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” (James 1:2) (NKJV)

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can discover the power of prayer. We are not talking about little ritualistic prayers that are little more than words uttered as mere form. This kind of prayer comes from the depth of who we are and shows a desperation. We instinctively understand at moments like these, that we are not infallible or invincible, and that we really do need help from God. The beautiful part of prayers like these is that God promised us:

“Call to Me, and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3) (NKJV)

Understand that inherent in that promise is the understanding that we must be surrendered to the will of God. Also, we must realize that His answer may not be what we expect, but He does all things well.

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can gain an unshakable faith in God. True, mature, and deep faith is formed not in the calm and peaceful sunshine, but in the howling winds amid the dark night of the soul! Faith in our fellow humans if often found to be a let down, but faith in God results in more faith as we find Him to be absolutely trustworthy. You can trust the character of God!

When trials hit, count it all joy because you can discover the real values of life. Two years ago, I sat in an oncologists office and listened in stunned disbelief as my father was informed that he was now a cancer patient. It truly seemed that the life of our family had been turned upside down for the worse!

I’ve learned to hate the word cancer with a new passion since then. As a family, we’ve run the gauntlet of that disease together. We’ve uttered impassioned prayers, shed gallons of tears, faced the uncertainty of surgery, waited with bated breath for every test result, and stared into the darkness hoping this was all a bad dream.

We’ve also discovered that God is faithful, His grace is sufficient, and that a vibrant relationship with Him is the most important thing in life. We’ve learned to cherish every moment together as a family, spent a lot of time reminiscing about our favorite family memories, made some good new memories, and determined that we’re in this together on this side of eternity and that we’re resolved (by God’s grace) to someday stand on Heaven’s shore together as a family. We’re learning to live with eternity’s values in view. It’s not been easy, but we’re finding out that you can face a trial head on and still be joyful.

 

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