Count it all joy my dear brothers and sisters James 1:2… It is not easy to count some things as joy in our lives especially as we live through them and don’t understand why we have to go through them. Some seasons are so painful in our lives that we wonder at their necessity. It may take years and sometimes even on our death bed we may not understand why we had to live through those times but one thing remains; that when we pull through we realize how God watched over us during those seasons.
To whom much is given much is required Luke 48:12b. I posted on my wall two weeks ago a line from the devotion ‘whom God calls He God equips’ and a friend wrote in response that He comes with an injection and bandages! How true that is! We often cry Lord Use me! But forget how difficult a process that can be. Perhaps because it is too painful to imagine the kind of pain we would have to go through for the kind of anointing we seek we prefer not think about it or imagine that others need it more than we do. Yet if Him who we want to exemplify was glorified by the cross how can we escape the process? If He learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8) how do we believe that we can learn it by sitting on the pew once a week for one hour and giving tithes and the occasional offering? Don’t get me wrong while these things are important often what we need to be and do requires more than that.
I know I have not embraced the cross as I should, when it comes there are times I have fought, kicked, asked why I had to go through that painful time. Recently during a time of prayer I felt led to thank God for the difficult season that I had just been through. First because through it I realized it was a privilege to suffer for the glory of God and receive a chance to grow. Secondly I was able to see the birth of my first book through this pain. Thirdly because I realized that I had experienced the paradox of seasons and been blessed during that difficult time in ways that I would never have been blessed had I been where I thought I should have been. I received the answer to a prayer I had said many years before, I had often seen Holy Land Experience on Christian TV. I remember saying to myself, ‘I would love to visit that place’, the presentations looked so beautiful and celestial I wanted to experience them for myself. It was during this time I got to go Holy Land. He has surely prepared a table for me and my cup overflows!
He may not answer your prayers like He did mine, and I surely know what it is to be at a place when absolutely nothing seems to change from day to day, or worse still it seems to get worse rather than get better. At that time so many alternatives seem to come knocking and though some may not be bad you know in your heart that they are not what you have been called to and settling for them while they may be good for others, would be compromise for you, and would probably lead you away from your destiny.
God is calling us to see Him in this season as we see Him in others where we declare: ‘God is so good! I received what I had been praying for today’. To paraphrase what I heard Bill Johnson say in one sermon: praise through our tears is an ability we have only on this side of life, for when we die we will have everything and no reason to cry. That is why our worship and thank you here is so sweet to Him and probably the reason we will be put above the angels when we die and go heaven. Because we will have learnt to do something even they never had to, worship in our lack.
The greatest sign of trust on our part is to be able to say yes even when it does not make sense. To say thank you when we want to know the reasons. To say ‘I love you Lord’, when we are not sure if it is with our last breath that we make the declaration. To be still and listen when we are not sure we will like what we hear. To declare I will obey when we would rather not, in every season this is our call, but even more so in our difficult seasons. May you be blest and a table prepared for you in the presence of your foes.