OK. One last paradox. When I was in high school the teacher that led the Christian club insisted we smile no matter what was going on in our lives. I quit the group. What he was dishing out seemed so unrealistic. What he failed to explain was that it is not our own joy that we just paste on and fake a happy. No! Philippians 4:4-7 says
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
We are given the way to find this joy. Pray about our needs. Thank Him for everything and we will experience peace beyond understanding and that will protect us from worry. There have been times when I needed to pray several times to win the battle, but I have found Him to be faithful to deliver on His end when I deliver on mine.
Be joyful in difficulties (James 1:2-4)
Joy is just about the last thing we experience when troubles come our way. We panic, worry and stress over our desperate situation. But what we are told in the Bible is that troubles are the means by which we grow our trust in God’s guiding hand and faith that He will work things out. In other words, our experience in the troubles builds our endurance in Him. That is how we grow toward perfection and completion – our eternal being. And what could be more fantastic than being on the road to eternal life with God looking after the cares of this world for us? If viewed this way it a place of joy!
I think if we can achieve trust, faith and joy in our troubles life will be a lot less stressful and worrisome. But it is a big step to look at dismal circumstances and believe that, like a sparrow, He will take care of everything and then live in joy.
Over the past several weeks we have looked at paradoxes we are called to live by. Many are quite challenging. We can determine to rise to the challenge until difficulties arise. Then we fail. I need to remember to ask for help to overcome my natural tendencies and my many weaknesses. It is accepting that things unseen are more real than things seen.
Share your thoughts!