Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bring the Rain

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." --James 1:2

I don't know about you, but when I have problems, the first thing I want to do is cry...or eat...or throw a pity party where everyone's invited! This past week and weekend was filled with troubles, some small and some big. One problem that occurred was that my cell phone had to be euthanized. The "e" and the "2" key quit working out of nowhere. This made for some interesting text messages. I apologize to the few who were the recipients of said messages. I loathe spelling and grammatical errors, so it was hard for me to function like this. This probably comes from being raised by an English teacher. My password for my voicemail has a "2" in it, so I couldn't check my voice messages either. I have had my share of troubles with cell phones, some of them my fault. I have dropped one in a toilet, a fountain in Vegas, a glass of water, and down into a storm drain in Tallahassee. I was able to revive ALL of the above phones and carry on, but my purple blackberry could not be fixed! You don't think that this problem is that bad? Keep reading.
Saturday comes, and I am at work towards the end of my 12 hour shift when I get a call from my husband. His first statement is, "We don't have any water." Okay...what happened? Apparently my darling son and one of his friends were playing with the water faucet outside and somehow managed to break a pipe under the house which resulted in gushing water for about 2 hours until they decided to confess. Now, I wasn't home at this point, but I feel certain that my husband was totally robbed of his happiness in this moment. I finished my shift, came home, and my husband and father in law were working to fix the problem. About an hour later, they were done. Problem fixed. Water was turned back on. Relief. The kids were all in bed and that's where I went as well. My husband was up for a while longer on the computer and checked on the kids before he came to bed. That is when he discovered that "someone" had turned on a bathroom faucet when the water was turned off, left it on at full blast and closed the drain. Three hours after the water was turned back on, it had become a flood all over the bathroom and into both of the girl's bedrooms. Fabulous. Where is Noah with his ark when you need him? This is the point that I lost MY happiness. But what could we do? We threw down some towels and went to bed. Now it is Tuesday and the carpet has been partially ripped out of both bedrooms, furniture moved, baseboards off, and huge fans and dehumidifiers everywhere. If you like white noise, my house is the place to be.

So, the question becomes, what is the difference between joy and happiness? Happiness is based on our circumstances, on what happens in everyday life. I'm happy when my children behave, when I get a compliment, when my house is clean, when I watch American Idol...etc. On the flip side, I am NOT happy when the opposite occurs. Think about it this way...being happy or sad depends on what happens to us. On the other hand, true Christian joy is something that stays with you all of the time. It is the feeling that all is well despite your circumstances. Rejoicing in the fact that we are saved, that Christ died for US is a feeling that doesn't change when bad things happen. This doesn't mean that true Christians are always smiling and never sad. We are all human and made of flesh. Having the emotion of sadness doesn't overrule the true joy that is in my heart. I didn't come to this realization overnight. I spent many years basing my joy and my happiness on the circumstances and the people surrounding me. The "old me" went from happy to sad probably 20 times a day. I wasn't holding on to my true joy. I'm not saying it isn't hard when you feel like life is beating you down. That's why we have the Bible, where we can read God's truths and not listen to Satan's lies about ourselves. I read somewhere that the closer you get to God and the more you desire to do His will, the higher up you go on the devil's attack list.

James doesn't stop there, though. In verses 3-4 he says "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." Now, I wouldn't say this past week tested my faith, but it definitely tested my patience! James is making an important point here. Another word for endurance is perseverence. When we learn to persevere, we can accomplish great things. Going through hard times and coming out joyful on the other side by relying on God causes us to grow in Him. When our endurance is fully developed, we will be perfect and complete! So trust in Him and let it grow...

And I know there'll be days, when this life brings me pain. But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain...
--Mercy Me

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