Are you serious…rejoice in suffering?
Below is a journal entry I wrote shortly after our fifth child Isaiah was born. A day after his birth, Isaiah had to be admitted to the NICU and eventually underwent three surgeries. This was a season of intense pain for our family because every day was so unpredictable and his life fragile. Today, Isaiah is totally healed (yes God is still in the healing business). I chose to post this today because we often look for God to do something new and tend to have spiritual amnesia and rob God of the glory and the praise He deserves for what He has already done. Today as I reflect on what he did for our baby boy, I will PRAISE HIM!
Journal Entry from August 2012
Yesterday I was gripped with a sudden fear that Isaiah may die. It pained me to think of this. I tried with all my might to “pull” through this fear, but it was overwhelming. I could barely find the strength to fight, I felt paralyzed. I rebuked the devil, declared that God had not given me the spirit of fear but of power love and sound mind, but must admit I was still struggling. I also felt bad that I couldn’t be there for him at all times to just hold him whenever I wanted and whenever he needed me. Isn’t this what a mother is supposed to do? Talk about feeling inadequate and guilty. As I went through the day, I could hear in a still small voice, “it pleased the father to bruise the son.” I couldn’t remember where the scripture was taken from, but as I tried to sink in self pity, the scripture kept on ringing in my spirit. It was puzzling to me because I could not comprehend HOW (not why) God could handle seeing His own son crucified. I understood the theology behind it but as a parent I couldn’t understand the emotional aspect of it, you know, the feeling part.
Right before I went to sleep last night, I struggled to open the bible, but I finally did. I turned to the book of James and came across James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, (ANIKA), [ when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. This was not even the scripture I was looking for but God knew it was just what I NEEDED! Why is rejoicing in suffering such a resounding theme in scripture….AWWW! What is there to be happy about when you are suffering? I obviously missed that memo yesterday. I didn’t want to hear what the scripture was saying at the moment but all I could do was smile because I knew what the Lord was speaking to my heart. As I sat and reread and reread and reread that passage, a great peace came over me, a peace that exceeded anything I could understand (Philippians 4:7). Amazing how the word of God gets to the heart of the matter and cause all fear to dissipate.
I can’t understand all the why’s behind the what’s during this season of my life, but I have to learn to not just accept it and say the Lord knows and He is going to bring me out, but I have to rejoice (not just lip service) even in this because it is ultimately about God getting the glory and Him perfecting me.
So this takes me back to the scripture that was ringing in my spirit yesterday, I looked it up and found that it was Isaiah 53:10,“But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief (Speaking of Jesus). Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. God could rejoice in what Jesus went through because He knew what the end was going to be…my salvation, our salvation. Jesus’ story did not end in suffering, it ended in triumph! God provided an awesome example for me to REJOICE IN THE MIDST OF THE SUFFERING. It was easy for me to speak faith when all of this began. I thought it would end just as quickly as it started but this is not the case. Isaiah is still in the hospital, and even after he comes out, there is much adjusting that we will have to do. There is also another surgery awaiting him when he gets a little older to reconnect his intestines. I don’t know all the details of Isaiah’s story and what God has in store for him, but I must learn to press pass my feelings and begin to rejoice as I am in the MIDST OF IT because in the end God and God alone will get all the glory! Can I live at this place EVERYDAY as I wait for the full manifestation of Isaiah’s healing? I pray for the grace to do just that.
About the Author
Hello there! I am Anika and I am definitely one of those. Passion oozes from every fiber of my being. I love to love. Sounds cheesy, I know, but I already told you that I am one of those kinds of people. Read on to find out some more interesting facts about me… 1. I love me some Jesus. I love to testify and if you hang around me long enough you may hear me bragging on the awesomeness of God, like how • He gave me a house I couldn't afford • Healed two of my children • Gave me a yes when I wanted to say no 2. I married a younger man…OK, not really. I was 23 while he was 22. My birthday is in April and his in August, but it’s our running joke. Nevertheless, after 13 years of marriage, I happen to love him deeply, and it still makes for a great story. 3. I have experienced the pain of two miscarriages and the joy of delivering 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls). I have both a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Early Childhood Education, which I put to good use staying home with the kiddos. 4. I attend an awesome church where my husband is the Assistant Pastor. I am also a part of a not for profit organization that encourages women to walk in their God given purpose. 5. I am addicted to prayer. 6. I am considered nice by most, definitely extreme by design. I am politically incorrect. 7. I take the scenic route when telling a story, but I promise if you hang on long enough, I eventually get to the punch line. 8. I have great ideas but I sometimes procrastinate. Jesus and I are working on that one. 9. I am guilty of overthinking things (refer to number 8). 10. I am originally from Jamaica. Surprise…sunshine and coconuts are two of my favorite things. 11. I subscribe to the Paleo Diet and actually did a round of Whole 30. 12. I love to experiment in the kitchen. 13. I make an absolute mess when I cook. I try to clean as I go but get distracted with cooking. Go figure. (My family doesn't always enjoy my cooking but I make them eat it anyway.) 14. I love people and enjoy talking to them—even the weird ones. I tried being otherwise but found it doesn't suit me well, so I'm learning to be okay with being me. 15. I have traction alopecia and wear wigs and am crazy enough to believe God for restoring my hair follicles even though the doctors have said otherwise. 16. A movie is considered good only if it makes me cry...more than once. Sound of Music happens to be my all time favorite. 17. I really wish I sang well. I really don't. 18. Telling people about Jesus is my favorite past time. And if I'm not talking about Him, I'm talking about my family or some random health fact I learned on Google. 19. I love redemption stories and happy endings, that’s why I said yes to Jesus. Feel like you know me a little more? Well good! Please continue to stop by my little corner of cyber world. And do leave a comment. Remember I love to talk to people!