Joy, in suffering. Surely, it is not possible? And yet Scripture says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” James 1:2 (ESV). Certainly not an easy pill to swallow, but once absorbed, the truth of this verse can bring hope to the millions suffering from chronic pain.
There had been no life-threatening moment when I recognized something was terribly wrong. No “near-death” experience claimed that day. I was attractive, self-absorbed, independent, career-focused and in my prime. Then without any notice, pain struck like a silent thief in the night, robbing me of my health. The familiar rug woven from threads of self-sufficiency and pride was rudely pulled out from under my fashionable heels. The world as I knew it, began spiraling out of control. Humiliation was my initial reaction, then disbelief, anger, and denial followed suit. A few well-meaning Christian friends (not unlike Job’s), suggested unrepented sin could be the only logical reason for such a trial. Non-believers shook their heads in sympathy asking, “What kind of God allows suffering?” Thankfully, His grace never wavers. The more I reached out for His hand, the more God’s Holy Spirit drew me close to his Heart. Inner healing began taking place. Any bitterness and blame that had taken root, vanished as joy, purpose, love, and hope settled in. Am I joyful all the time? No of course not, but the wings of joy spread out further than mere happiness. Bringing hope and peace on the most painful of days. Lifting me higher so that I can see further than ever before, as I tackle each new hurdle. “…We also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-6 (NIV)
“The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” Acts 5:41.