OK, so I knew that I was going to have some trouble with my new Word for 2014 – JOY.
I just didn't know that it would come so soon.
A week ago, my dad somehow flipped himself out of bed, lost his balance, and crashed into a night stand.
He is injured, in a lot of pain, in the hospital, and he cannot come home at this time.
So, this has been a week full of information overload, investigating the next steps, agonizing decision-making, and more talking than I have ever done in my life.
I have been strong, but I've experienced moments of overwhelming sadness. I have had peace, but I've experienced moments of daunting anxiety. And boy, I am so incredibly tired. Not much sleep, a lot of long days.
But, I have NOT walked one step alone.
First of all, family has *circled the wagons* – and we've been a united front. So, I am not walking this new path without the support of my loved ones.
And, of course, the Lord has been with me.
In fact, His Presence has been so tangibly real that I can practically feel His hand in mine.
And though this trial is most difficult, I find that I am experiencing…yes…JOY.
(I'm as shocked as you are!)
Not happy – because who could be happy with these most painful circumstances?
But joy? Yes.
A deep, abiding sense that all is well, for I know that the Lord is in control.
And here's something He's teaching me…
It has occurred to me that often when the Lord wants to develop a characteristic in you, He lets you be tested in that area. So, if this is the year that He wants me to learn how to be joyful, He's going to go to work on testing me.
To tell you the truth, this was one of the things that I was afraid of when He gave me this word.
"Oh no. If God wants me to learn joy, He's going to send a bunch of trials."
I do not want a bunch of trials. (Do you???)
And yet, here I am, less than two weeks into the new year, and He is allowing a HUGE trial. Probably the hardest thing I've ever had to experience in my life.
I used to think that testing was cruel.
Like the Lord was a mean teacher who delighted in constantly giving surprise pop quizzes that nobody was ready for, and therefore, would most certainly fail.
Or maybe He was the taskmaster coach, who ran you through endless practice sessions of hurdling. Sort of a *steeplechase approach* to life. Up and over, into the water, jump this, jump that.
And then, just for fun, He'd throw an obstacle in the road, just so you had to figure out how to get around this trial or circumstance or situation – (or get hopelessly stuck and stopped in your tracks.)
But I'm not thinking that so much anymore.
I'm beginning to understand a new side to this faith testing that He does.
You see, it's not so much that He needs to test my faith to see how strong it is – it's that He's allowing ME the opportunity to see how strong my faith is.
Does that make sense?
Is He testing me to make me stronger? Yes, that's part of it. But I am also having the wonderful chance to see that yes, indeed, under difficult testing, I AM strong!
Do you remember the Gold Rush? (No, I'm not asking whether you lived through it!!)
There was a process called assaying – in which the metal ore was tested.
(Dictionary definition: To subject (a metal, for example) to chemical analysis so as to determine the strength or quality of its components. It is the process of melting down, stirring and separating the gold from other elements, to determine the amount and value of pure gold).
That's what I feel like this testing is all about – assaying my faith.
And during this last week, it's been worth its weight in gold!
So, here I am – two weeks in, and my new Word for the Year – JOY – is working out.
In spite of the testing…
JOY can be found in knowing that God is in control.
JOY can be found in knowing that God is leading you through circumstances beyond your control.
JOY can be found in knowing that you are listening to Him well, and following Him closely.
JOY can be found in Jesus, Only You!
Though the rain comes in torrents
and the floodwaters rise
and the winds beat against that house,
it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock.
"Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands." (Deuteronomy 8:2, NLT)
"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart." (Proverbs 17:3, NIV)
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts…and lead me along the path of everlasting life."
(Psalm 139:23-24, NLT)
"Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness." (Psalm 26:2-3, NIV)
"'I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.'" (Jeremiah 17:10, ESV)
"'Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.'" (Isaiah 48:10, NASB)
"'I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'These are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'" (Zechariah 13:9, NLT)
"…he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God's paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food." (Job 23:10-12, NLT)
How is God testing you lately?
Linked today with:
Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Jen at UNITE
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Salina at HEART REFLECTED
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS
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