The ongoing battle for joy has become a bit easier these days.
No, health-wise nothing has visibly improved, and on top of everything else I caught a nasty virus that’s been going around, putting me in bed for a week. However, I’ve been practicing. Practicing Jesus’ joy.
I can’t say I’ve perfected it, but by God’s grace my spirit and my mind have come to terms of circumstantial acceptance and true Biblical application.
According to Oswald Chambers, the true definition of Jesus’ joy is “His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father- the joy of doing that which the Father send Him to do.”
“…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2)
I’ve touched lightly on this in a previous blog. But since then, I can truly say the Lord has been maturing my understanding of joy.
I’ve focused on the evils of my suffering. Of the discomfort. I’ve been hanging onto the hope of one day being healed- trying to look past the pain instead of surrendering to the purpose God has for me during my current situation: to bring me closer to Himself. In any and every situation, God always declares His seal on my life.
Although my physical body is achingly in distress, my soul is content. In His Word He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Though I may not know why I’m undergoing such inconvenient pain, I know Who is in control. I surrender to Him alone. I lean into Him and long to know Him more. He tells me to“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Oh, I’m still alright.
I continue to pray for healing every day, and I pray for more faith to pray with. I remind God of His promises for me. Do I desire to live like this, with non-stop headaches and nausea? No. But more than that, I do NOT desire to live outside the will of God. And for now, this is His will. I need to preside in it.
The last thing I want is to be caught up in my own cares. I want to instead be caught up in proclaiming Jesus and what He has done. I don’t want to merely be aware of my life, but to FIND my life in Christ. To be ONE in Him.
This is the purpose of my life. How easy it is to become distracted by circumstance. Is health the most important thing to me? No. Have I made it the most important? Close to it.
Oswald Chambers reminds us that “We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness… the only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy.”
Whoah. My self-inclined sympathy and resistance to my health issues definitely don’t belong in my relationship with God. I can’t imagine Christ complaining on the cross. What a whiner I’ve become. Yes, I know He cares for me. But my prayer of “God please take away my pain” doesn’t look anything like “God please make me holy”.
He commands it, “... it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:16)
How have I missed praying in His will??? He wants to make me exactly like Himself. I mean, that’s how He created us- in His image. Then He sent Jesus to save us so He can restore us to Himself in complete holiness.
That’s His plan. That’s all He wants for me.
When I can’t see purpose in my sickness, there is greater purpose beyond because I have joyfully surrendered to whatever my Father has for me to do. I am filled by Him to be used by Him. “I delight to do Your will, O my God…” (Psalm 40:8).
It’s encouraging to understand that as I continue to embrace relationship with Him, He is making me holy. No matter the circumstance- even when I’m sick at home- His goal is unconditional. And He does it in His grace. I don’t deserve it, yet He wills it.
Such a joyful concept. What more could I ask for?
Thank You Lord Jesus for Your rule and reign in my life. Thank You for Your plan to make me holy as You are holy. Thank You for making me Yours and for revealing Yourself to me. Help me to find fulness of Joy only in You that You may be glorified in me. I will praise You still.