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Girlfriends in God - April 12, 2012

  • 2012 Apr 12
  • COMMENTS


April 12, 2012
Choose Joy
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
James 1:2-3 Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow (NLT).

Friend to Friend
When golf balls were first manufactured, their covers were smooth. Golfers soon discovered that after the balls had been roughed up a bit, they were able to get more distance out of them.  Manufacturers then began producing golf balls with dimpled covers. 

Life is a lot like that. It takes some rough spots to make us go our farthest. It takes some storms to teach us that God is faithful and will provide the strength to stand firm. 

The Apostle Paul knew all about storms. As a fully devoted follower of Christ, Paul was despised, slandered, mistreated, abused and poor. He had every right to be angry and distressed but instead chose joy. “We own nothing, and yet we have everything” (2 Corinthians 6:8-10 NLT).

I never fully understood the amazing truth behind Paul’s words because I had never really lived their truth – until 1995 – when I found myself sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit. Clinical depression, the psychologist called it. The name was irrelevant to me. All I knew was that it was the most hellish place I had ever been and I had absolutely no idea how to escape. I was paralyzed and totally helpless – the perfect setting for a miracle. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, stripped of my human efforts and impotent plans, I discovered the life changing truth that He did not come to eliminate the storms in my life. No - He came to fill those storms with His presence.  I was not delivered from that pit until I was delivered in that pit. 

Because joy is a deeply-rooted confidence that God is in control, it only stands to reason that the highest joy will come through the greatest pain. The greater the pain, the more we are forced to search for and cling to the hand of God. But that only happens when we choose the right attitude toward pain.

James 1:2-3 Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.  For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  (NLT)

When was the last time you threw a party to celebrate the trials and storms in life? God’s ways are higher than our ways and most human reactions are in direct opposition to the paradoxical ways of God. Honestly, there are times when what He has asked me to do simply does not make sense – to me. And there we find the problem. Faith is a matter of blind obedience, not human logic.  

At the heart of every storm is victory – waiting to be claimed. The words of James offer the perfect backdrop for every life storm.

My son, Jered, was a beautiful baby. One Easter I took him to Sears for their “Get a million pictures for $2.99” deal. Expecting the studio to be crowed, I was met by one bored photographer thrilled to see his first customers. Jered always loved having his picture made and put on quite a show. After the advertised special pictures were taken, the photographer asked, “Listen, I don’t have any appointments today and really need some new pictures for wall displays. Would you mind if I took more pictures of Jered?” What mother is going to say, “I don’t want my child’s face plastered on every wall of this studio?” Not this proud mama. We went to work. 

The photographer handed me a box of clothes, asking me to choose several different outfits for Jered. First was a tuxedo. No, I am not kidding you. The photographer pulled down a silver backdrop, making Jered’s curly, black hair stand out and his blue eyes dance. Next was the blue snow suit against a red backdrop. With every backdrop, Jered’s appearance changed and an eternal truth lodged in my heart. 

We have a different backdrop for every life experience. It is a manger – a cruel cross – an empty tomb – and eternity itself. That backdrop changes everything. It makes our hearts sing and our souls dance with the truth that we can always count on His joy in us to face the storms around us.

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You, asking for the strength to withstand the storm in my life. Forgive me for giving in to the fear and doubt instead of turning to you in faith. I now turn to You, Lord. I choose to lean on You. Show me the way.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
What storm is raging in your life today? What step do you need to take in order to experience His strength for that storm? Your Father stands ready to meet you in your darkest hour. He longs to wrap His arms around you until the winds die down and the waves are stilled. Right now – surrender. Yield to His presence and power. Celebrate the storm that dashed your battered life on the shores of His unyielding love. 

More from the Girlfriends
Need help learning how to study the Bible? Check out one of Mary’s E-Bible Studies for practical steps you can take to strengthen your faith and find answers to the problems you face every day. Titles include Strength for the Storm, God’s Answer to Stress, Getting a Grip on Fearand more

Join other women across the worldin Mary’s Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. How to Tame the Tongueis the current series. Check it out!

Need a friend?Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email. She loves hearing what God is doing in your life!

Seeking God?
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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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