Thursday, March 30, 2017
Grieving #5: Rejoice in the LORD always
"Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.
The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
When our agony first began I would walk the three miles around our little town every day. I would spend much of that hour preaching God's Word to myself. This Philippians 4 passage is one of them.
Rejoicing in the LORD always is significant. I never really understood this until I was in agony. The LORD held me up. My normal life was falling all around me, and yet I was surviving and actually feeling a sense of calmness. It was obvious to me that my great God was holding on to me tightly. How could I not rejoice even amid my great sadness?
A significant time for me personally: This was also the first time ever I truly believed that the LORD actually loved me. I had not been thinking biblically all the years I was His child. My incorrect thought was that God HAD to love me because His Word said so. I also used to think that when I would be with Him in glory He would not even see me or acknowledge me because I was not important enough. As my agony played out, even to this very day, I now completely know that the Almighty God dearly loves me - He has laid His hand upon me.
"You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me."
No matter what our situations we can rejoice in Him. You do not have to rejoice for what is happening, but rejoice for all that He is, and He does, and He will do. He is our great God who dearly loves His children!
The LORD is near. This reminds me that I am NEVER alone. I may certainly feel alone, I may stress and become afraid, but then I will remember that the LORD is near me always. What great comfort this is to the wounded saint!
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord."
Letting my gentle spirit be known. Smiling: It is a simple thing, but it changes everything when you mean it. You can mean it when the LORD is your strength.
Living in agonies: One thing that changes is that the people you know may seem to think that even in your great traumas, you are doing just fine, because you choose to live for the LORD and actually smile. This may mean that they believe you do not need any care and love and prayers - (which is not correct).
At other times these same people may realize that you are choosing to smile, and to carry on even through your agonies, and they are encouraged and maybe even being taught what it is kind of like to more than survive because of the LORD when your world crashes around you.
Another thing is how the world sees you. The world may not know you are hurting, but here you are, smiling, being kind, and blessing people by your gentle spirit. They may not know how it is the LORD who is helping you to just breathe, let alone smile, but this doesn't matter. You are letting your gentle spirit be known to a world who desperately needs the LORD, and you are glorifying Him by simply ~ allowing ~ yourself ~ to smile.
Wrong choices, a joy withheld: One day years ago... I remember that day as if it were yesterday because of my terrible wrong choice. It was a Sunday, lunch time, and I was so grumpy and sad deep on the inside of me so that I let it "bleed" to my outside where I just didn't want to speak or smile at all. We were eating at a popular custard place which was packed with locals and travelers. People were everywhere constantly, but I avoided any eye contact.
Eventually this precious, sweet, little, braided girl walked back and forth by us. My Beloved, living in agony also, pointed her out to me. Yes, she was adorable, but I told myself not to smile. The LORD had allowed this precious child to be seen, and yet, I refused to acknowledge her. She looked right at me smiling, and I was choosing not to smile at a precious child. As soon as that moment passed I regretted the joy I chose to withhold. Never again! for I live for a Great God who made heaven and earth! My Savior died for my sins, and it is my joy to glorify Him even when I am so sad!
Ways to cope when in agony: Life is full of things which must be accomplished, and then other things we choose to do. We MUST accomplish those certain things. Keep your home running the best you can. Your family is number one. Grieving is exhausting, so use your energy on what is most important.
"Extra-Curricular Things:" Choose wisely what you do after these most important things. You must think of the emotional tolls on yourself, but it is healthy for you to interact with others. The LORD will help you in each endeavor. He is and He will be your strength.
At first, I did "everything", eventually realizing it was too much for me, and that it was unhealthy emotionally for me. Part of this, for me, was that I was trying not to allow my faith to be shipwrecked, and so I know I went overboard on choices. I am now very selective what I choose to do without avoiding all social things.
Be anxious for nothing. Anxiousness is a big problem. All of these things which cause us pain can make us literally freeze is fear. The chaos can consume us, it can steal our time away, it can make our thinking become selfish and feed our self pity.
In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. When we try, and when we practice, and when we finally learn to turn to the LORD in all things, this is when we have learned a good habit of thinking about Him first and running to Him before too much time has elapsed.
So give your anxiousness to the LORD, even if it must be given to Him over and over and over again and again...
Cry out to Him. He already knows all about each of us, but cry out to Him, and let Him know your anxiousness. And when you can't even express it, He understands our groans which are so very deep inside. When we come to Him our relationship with Him grows and grows. Speak with Him about your troubles and then for your thankfulness of Him in your life.
"...the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding is not something we can make happen. It is the LORD, and it is Him working in us. When we come to Him and lay our selves before Him, we will experience His marvelous peace.
The LORD will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Continue to go to Him always. He loves His own.
See also: Grieving #1, #2, #3, #4