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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Joy-Stealers

 As Christmas passes, I must admit that this season was a test of faith for me. There were many things that threatened to take my peace and rob me of the joy of Christmas. It's been that kind of last few months for me. Nothing has come easy, and challenges have crept up unexpected. Illness, deadlines, travel, music recital, my phone nearly dying (with hundreds of unsaved stuff on it), church Christmas program details...it's all added up and, at times, I've let the stress get to me. 
 But then God showed me another way...a better way to view such difficulties. One day it hit me: you're probably doing something right because nothing is coming easy. When you do what you're called to do, and you place God's work as your own, the enemies of that work will strengthen their attacks. These things? They are the joy-steelers. The rest-robbers. The thieves who come trying to take away my sense of grace and happiness in the One I serve and love. Even though such things must be dealt with anyway, somehow, they become more duty and less delight. They turn into mere projects. I become like Martha of old, "cumbered about much-serving," when I ought to have chosen "the better part" like Mary and savor end the grace-moments more thoroughly. How many times have I rushed through precious hours, worried about all the things which have yet to be accomplished when what God is really after is my heart-attitude and my frame of mind. What is pleasing to Him isn't how much I can finish on any given day but with what spirit did I approach my work?! 
I listen to the pastor preach on the topic of God's timing - and I agree with him fully. Sometimes it appears to cross our own plans and goals, to come in between us and our supposed achievement, but He knows what is best for us. He knows our needs, He knows what will grow our character, and He loves us enough to not always give us what we desire or seek...but in the end, to grant us something of far greater value. 
 The last several weeks have tried my faith and tested my trust in the divine plan. Many times I haven't understood the moves God has been making, and yet I also know that He has proven Himself to be too good a God to not answer rightly and provide in His way and His time. Believing Him when the winds of change blow is a choice - a resignation of my will to His, knowing fully that He has a right to dispose as He pleases and that if I am doing His bidding, He has the responsibility to provide what I need in order to accomplish it. It might not take place in the manner in which I think is right, but He will bring it to completion as He deems fit. There is no need for me to worry, to let these issues steal my sense of peace and joy! God is still on His throne no matter what and will always provide for and take care of me. I can make the decision not to live in fear and concern over what may lie ahead. Instead, I can embrace the opportunity to bless my Lord in the trials and delays, knowing that they are not denials of His love but simple withholdings for a greater design of His own!