Here are some words that had a big influence on my spiritual walk:
JOY NEEDS PAIN TO GIVE IT BIRTH. I think of something D.L. Moody once said, too-- "How can one tell if a stick is straight?" He answered himself with, " Lay it beside a crooked one." For me happiness is so much more rich when it comes to me after a period of hardship or trial. I decided years ago to find joy in the trials. The crooked stick beside the straight one is not the one to follow. I don't want to waste pain no matter what form it comes. I began sharing in my conferences and meetings how not to waste our pain. (You can order the CD at my website http://www.mariechapian.com/ )
Just to grit our teeth and hang on in times of deep suffering is exhausting, and it leads to frustration and despair. I don't know about you, but I don't like despair. (Know anyone who does? haha) When I'm depressed I know it's because I'm not hearing God in the situation; I'm not somehow cognizant of His role in my life-- mainly, I'm not fully in possesssion of the fact that my life is His. Nothing is safer or smarter than self-abandonment in this God-walk of ours. We live our "selfness" in Him, and sometimes that our "self" can get a bit obscured with our unruly thought habits.
I think we're hard on ourselves. I think we demand too much of ourselves. I think we get all bamboozled with trying to achieve and produce and accomplish-- and we depress ourselves when we can't seem to do all we think we should be doing. That might sound simplistic, but I know that when I have a thousand things I absolutely have to do I sometimes just lock up and can't do anything. I tell my writers in my writing classes that the state called "writer's block" is usually when the task is just too big you lock up and can't write a thing. I have methods I teach to overcome this state, of course.
But what about suffering? What about the state of our souls when we're suffering? Many of us just lock up and can't do a thing outside of the suffering itself.
God speaks to us in the moment. He lives in the present moment, right now, right here. We have to see Him as He is in this moment. And He is always Love. We have to understand that our suffering settles us in the divine furnace of His love, which is far greater than anything.
We (I) need to commit every particle of our being in all things, down to the smallest deatails of our lives, eagerly and with perfect trust to our unfailing and most perfect, loving Creator. The most perfect act of our love for the Lord is to suffer with grace -- and with faith. These two sublime elements produce a form of peace that baffles reason. It attracts the favor of the angels and the Lord Himself, and healing and deliverance are ours.
He loves it when we discard our complaints and our begging-- and His Holy Spirit rejoices with us as we rejoice in Him.
I just want to encourage you today to rejoice, rejoice, rejoice. Thank Him for everything in your life because it's all for the purpose of making you strong and wise and like Jesus Himself. We're made in His image. I want to be thankful at all times, don't you? Like Paul? "I have learned in whatsoever state I'm in therewith to be content."
See you in Chicago April 15-19. I'll be at the Skokie Aglow on April 15 if you can make it. I think the seminars may be full. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org