One of the hardest things to do is to smile in the midst of pain. It's almost incomprehensible that someone would rejoice during some of their darkest moments. The reality is that, often in the word, we have been encouraged to pray when we are in pain, to sing when we are suffering greatly.
Putting on the garment of praise when you are weighed down with a spirit of heaviness is no easy thing and is a deliberate act with the help of God. When everything in you wants to curl up into a ball of self pity and hide, it is only pushing past it all with the strength of God that you get a breakthrough.
While in the hospital last week, I said to my son one day, "I know you are in a lot of pain son, but I want you to try and still praise God. Remember He has been with you all the way and He will continue to be with you throughout your recovery and beyond." He said, "Ok mummy." I don't know if he wondered or thought it was unreasonable of me to ask him such. After all, sometimes he could barely talk, because of the pain, so how could I ask him to even think of God?
But I know that when the word says, to pray without ceasing, or be anxious for nothing, it means to do it even when we are in pain.
Later that same evening, I was reading 1 Thess. and this was what Paul said to the church at Thessalonica; "You welcomed the Message(0f the gospel) in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."
One of my son's favorite verses is "The joy of the Lord is my strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
I know it is only with the joy given by the Holy Spirit that he was able to join with me in prayer everyday that we spent at that hospital.
We don't always understand God's methods, but anyone who dare try them, will prove that they work. To get He says we should give, to live He says we should die, to be exalted he said we should humble ourselves.
My heart rejoices in the God of my salvation. I can't imagine my life without Him. I can't imagine going through my days without acknowledging Him.
I said to God at the beginning of this year that I will meet the conditions in His word no matter what it costs me. I will do my part in seeking His kingdom because I know He will keep His end of the bargain. I will draw near to Him and I know He will draw near to me.
I have purposed to praise God in spite of my circumstances.
I don't know your area of suffering today, it may not be as severe as my son's last week, but I encourage you not to hide behind your pain. Please don't turn away from God because you are depressed or because you are hurting. If anything we need to turn to Him more. If there is sin in your life, give it over to Him. He promises to forgive you when you do.
In the midst of your turmoil, welcome His message of peace.
In the midst of your loneliness, welcome His message of companionship.
In the midst of your financial burden, welcome His message of prosperity.
In the midst of your sorrow, welcome His message of relief.
In the midst of your pretense, welcome His message of reality.
In the midst of your mess, whatever it is, welcome Him.
Dear Jesus, thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Thank you that no matter how I suffer you are right there, waiting and willing to fill me with your joy through the Holy Spirit. Thank you for being my peace who has broken down every wall. Thank you that nothing can separate me from your love. I love and appreciate you so much. Thank you for loving me with a love that will not let me go. In Jesus name. Amen