January 31, 2011

Joy in the pain

I received the devotional book Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young from one of my aunts when she visited me in October. It has been a daily encouragement. Below is an excerpt from November 24th's entry (to be read as if God is speaking directly to you):

"Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. That is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give Me thanks (regardless of your feelings), and I give you Joy (regardless of your circumstances). This is a spiritual act of obedience - at times, blind obedience. To people who don't know Me intimately, it can seem irrational and even impossible to thank Me for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Me in this way are invariably bless, even though difficulties may remain. Thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. You may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. It is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity." (Related Bible verses: Ephesians 5:20, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 89:15)

There are days when I have little or no desire to be thankful. My prayers start off with weeping, lamenting words, and sometimes even anger. But soon my thoughts are led to God's sovereignty and my focus is shifted off of myself and my difficulties and I feel my face being lifted towards the heavens where I find peace and hope.

Unfortunately, especially the past few days, as the minutes and hours pass, I am tempted to turn my focus downward again and I find myself full of immense anxiety and doubt. It is during those times I must frequent the embrace of my heavenly Father to weep and to be encouraged. This doesn't mean I don't feel pain - I feel it very strongly - but I also feel loved and comforted by the presence of the Creator.



  1. Thank you for sharing from your heart Karen. I'm reminded of all those in scripture who lamented honestly before the Lord... and the riches that came out from that season in their lives. Praying for you as you lift your eyes to the One who gives help. ~Samantha

  2. Karen, that sounds like such a good book. Thanks for sharing what's on your heart. I'm praying for you.

  3. Hi Karen--I tried to post something similar to this last night without results, so here goes again. I was in tears last night after reading in your blog, as I wrote that I could see your strong beautiful Christian character shining through your messages of great pain, struggle, and love. I am so glad Aaron found you!
    I, too have been reading JESUS CALLING. I received it as a gift for my birthday from a Sunday School friend. She gave everybody else in the class a copy for Christmas. It's easier to read than to live by its messages. It's intense and beautiful as well.
    I am praying for you, Aaron, Grant, Wes, and everyone around you, asking for healing, love, strength, wisdom, and blessings.
    Joyce S./Akron,OH


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