Reason to Celebrate

I was out sick Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: I accidently ate something last Sunday with gluten in it and it sent my body into the worst reaction I’ve ever experienced. I won’t go into details…

However, Thursday morning when I finally had enough energy to open my bible for the 1st time in 3 days, I was immediately hit with what I should have seen and appreciated in those moments of hell. I should have seen how my sick days were God’s will. I should have accepted them and looked for ways to find God’s presence in my bedridden misery. He knows better than me what I need. Why did I wallow in my depression instead of turn and depend on Him? A missed opportunity. But then again, by God’s grace he took the blinders off my eyes as I reflected upon the purpose he had in me getting sick. He was trying to teach me how to receive, which even includes the bad as his will for the moment.

I pray all the time to receive his good, and if he works all things together for the good of those who love him, how can I claim sickness as evil instead of his goodness. I mean, who can know the mind of God, right? If my hands are open to receive, to trust in his plan, I need to stop categorizing the different life situations I experience to my own standards, because all this shows is my selfish desire to control and pick and choose, grasping only what I deem fitting to be God’s plan instead of really receiving his will in every situation.

Before this week I had recently been reading and learning about how my daily task is to simply trust. And I’ve been intentionally trying to practice Trust. John 6:29 says “This is the work that God asks of you: that you believe (acting in trust) in the One whom he has sent.” As I think about it, it shouldn’t be difficult to trust in retrospect of EVERYTHING God has done for me. His Son. His sacrifice. His forgiveness. His unconditional, perfect love. He is all I need. I am safe in His promises.

Though anytime a storm hits, I foolishly forget that every moment is His will. Nothing changes-God remains the same- yet I respond in an untrusting and childish manner. I think I know better. I pick and choose the moments by myself, missing the chance to receive the fullness of his Joy in the moments (good or “bad”) he gives me. On my own I am incapable of releasing my will to accept His. Incapable of trusting and being thankful for every moment of his will. But my God strengthens me and helps me, He upholds me with his righteous right hand. He is my helper. He helps me find joy in what he gives. What he takes.

This experience has reminded me again that I am nothing without Christ. I cannot attempt to live like Christ without Christ. It’s impossible. I literally need to depend on him for EVERYTHING. He ALONE is the reason it’s even possible to receive his grace to pray for faith that comes through trust and belief in who he is and what he has done and what he wills. For EVERY moment.

And then it’s amazing. Trusting. Living in his continual presence. Seeing him in every moment. I obviously have a loooooong ways to go.  But he’s teaching me. And as I learn and receive and trust, his JOY is my reward, therefore I cannot help but celebrate by giving praise and thanks and glory back to Him.

This morning there was a marathon in Istanbul, so all the main roads were closed, which meant none of the buses were running. I take the bus to church. I was so angry when I got to the bus stop and the roads were closed; all I wanted to do was celebrate and worship the LORD and who he is and the work he’s doing! God knew- and sent a friend my way who creatively led me a different route by walking and taxi and subway- and we made it to church. We were only 25 minutes late. And guess what? It was dubbed “Celebration Sunday,” which meant that we worshiped and sang praises for the entire service.

How fitting- after the week I had- to bring it in full circle with a morning of praise… Amen and AMEN!

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