"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good." 1 Thess. 5:18-21
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7
So I'm in the middle of learning something beautiful....and hard. I feel like I'm on the cusp of understanding. I'm reading, I'm pondering, I'm praying, I'm asking questions, I'm meditating on the truth of Scripture; today, though, I got an object lesson. The kind that plays itself out in the everyday-ness of life. The kind that tears a hole so that God Himself can fill it.
There are few phrases that can inflict a wounding like the words, "I hate you." Especially when those words come out of the mouth of a precious child whom you would give your very life for. A poor choice was made. A privilege was taken away for the day. Anger and hurt bubbled over and the words spewed forth venomously, hitting hard and wounding deeply. Hot, stinging tears behind (disbelieving) eyeballs.
Now, Lord?? Give thanks now?? Don't you mean "Give thanks in every circumstance except when your sweet child hurts you with those terrible words."?
"Now, child. Even now. Give thanks to Me now."
So I tried. I asked Him to help me to be thankful even now, even in this. I found a quiet spot and sat still for a moment, soaking in morning breezes and sounds. I took a breath, and I thanked Him. He gently reminded me that I'm not the only one who hears those words. He hears them too, from hurting, angry children. He whispered to me to rejoice, because in a small way, I was "fellowshipping in His suffering." Why rejoice in that? Because He tells us in Romans that if we share in his sufferings, we also share in His glory.
I still felt hurt. But strangely, better. I'm beginning to understand that God can use everything, really everything to draw us into deeper relationship. Even this hard hurting can serve a purpose. I'm still learning. But the hole created today may very well have opened a door to understanding Him a little bit better...and love Him more for it.