Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It Will Be My Joy to Say ...

The screen flashed the words of a song and the crowd sang at the top of their lungs.

"It will be my joy to say 'Your will, Your way. Always.'"

I couldn't sing those words. I did not think they rang true for me. How could all these people around me declare that they would find joy in following God's will always? What if His way meant allowing you to walk through pain and suffering? Would the first Christians say they found joy while they were being fed to the lions in the Coliseum for sport? How does a devout Christian say they find joy while they valiantly fight a dreadful disease? I'm not saying these evil things are God's will. They were not part of His original creation and I know that He hates them. But we live in a broken world filled with sin and suffering. Jesus warned believers that in this world we will have troubles.

Then, Sunday I saw this song being lived by a dear friend. Her beloved husband suffered a severe heart attack Thursday, CPR administered four different times. Her response, "Please pray. I'm perfectly at peace with God's will. And I will not waste my suffering." And her beautiful, strong daughters were of the same mind, trusting the God they love.

Her husband, their father, spent two days in an induced coma, allowing his body to rest. When they began to bring him out of it Saturday, he responded in ways that astounded the medical community, of which he is a part. When I talked with his wife that evening, I heard joy. I heard happiness because of the hope that she has more time with her husband on this earth. But her joy was found in what she witnessed God doing in the lives of others. She knew joy because she knew God's presence. This strong woman who is usually on the quiet side, preferring to listen and learn, could not stop talking. She was bubbling over with story after story of where she saw God's presence and His loving kindness towards her and towards people that had never acknowledged Him in the past. I heard joy. And I know that when her husband is able to hear the God stories, he will grin from ear to ear.

Today, I read Romans 7. Paul wrote of himself (and every believer), "Yes, I'm full of myself - after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise…The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps…The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in my life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but I am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different." (The Message)

It's as if there are two Debs. One is shallow and one is deep. The shallow Deb gets caught up in the world and its ways. She desires things that have no true value and she gets ruffled over things that don't really matter. Actually, I think the world likes this Deb. On the other hand, the deep Deb truly wants God above all else. He is her greatest treasure. I don't think the world cares for this Deb. They think that when she hates what is evil, she condemns them. They think that her values are out-dated. Since the world is hostile toward God and His values, she doesn't fit in.

I thought about the song. The shallow Deb cannot sing the words, "It will be my joy to say Your will, Your way always." But the deep Deb can sing at the top of her lungs. The deep Deb knows that God is always good, always faithful, always kind and He calls her His daughter. He's trustworthy. And He promises to be there always-in the good times and in the tough times.

Let the real Deb sing!

And please pray for my friends. I'm asking for full, total healing and recovery for him. And strength and wisdom for her and her daughters. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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