Joy Through Affliction

 

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Can I somehow relay to anyone through my words how much rejoicing has been going on in my heart the last few months and especially yesterday?  I mean, even though my Lyme symptoms have returned, my joy in Him has not subsided.

Psalm 4:7   You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

Psalm 71:23  My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

My husband and I have been married for 21 years next month.  During that time we have had many trials, heart aches, and afflictions overwhelm our relationship.  Through every timely attack, we have managed to cling to one another.  Oh, it’s not always been easy, and for the first 12 years it was especially tough in our home.  I remember my early walk with the Lord, knowing and understanding fully who He was, as being a lonely venture.  Lonely in that God’s timing for my husband was not in sync with His timing with me.  I prayed for those twelve years that God would change my husbands heart, that He would show my husband His Word and Grace so that we could grow together.  At times, God likely heard my prayers to be more like begging.  Pleading for the release of my husbands hardened heart so that he would hear God’s calling and crave to know the truth as I was learning it.  Let’s just clearly say, it was a long 12 years and the support from others to continue on was at times quite at odds with scripture and felt more like worldly advice  attacks.

At the bible study I attended weekly during that time, an older, wiser Titus 2 woman who was in our leaders group reminded all of us through a devotional that sometimes we need to release our wants and desires and give it up to the Lord, for as we know all things are in His timing.  That our will was not always His will and that we needed to trust Him.

Wow!  Wait… hold the presses… I knew that!  Yet my daily prayer for 12 consistent years had been pleading my will upon the Lord’s heartstrings.  I was begging for something rather than trusting and praying for God’s will to be done in my husbands life.  Why had I not asked God for my own patience?  Why had I not prayed for acceptance of where God had my husband at that time?  I remember beating myself up about my own prayers and how selfish they were.  I wasn’t trusting God to just do as He needed.  It was that day that I went home and got on my knees and asked for God’s forgiveness in not trusting Him.  I repented for my lack of patience and asked God to give me strength to wait upon Him and His timing for my husband…. If that is what the Lord intended.  I did not know if my husband would ever accept Christ nor if God would ever even call upon my husband to be one of His flock.  I just knew that I needed to trust the plan God had for us and to stay true to Him and all that He is.

Two weeks from the day of that prayer, my husband was asked by a personal friend who he respected, if he wanted to begin a bible study with him.  My husband accepted the invitation.  We went to the store and bought him a study bible and he began studying God’s word.  I kid you not, I stood in amazement.  I have to say that for a period of time, God allowed my husband to continue serving the prince of the earth while also learning about God’s truth.  There was a true battle of good vs. evil at work.  At the final turning point,  the crushing lowest point of my husbands life, he began to see that he could not be of both worlds and the Lord began to strengthen my husbands desire for truth and soften his once hardened heart.  He admittedly prayed about hypocracy and that he no longer wanted the sinful part of his life.  He asked God for help in getting rid of the sins and continued temptations that were trying to overtake him.

John 3:5-8  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is born of the spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

God did not turn a blind eye.  He helped my husband see the errors of his ways, and gave him the nourishment of truth that he so desired.  The ever present Holy Spirit walked with him giving him an unknown desire for learning the scriptures.  As time went forth, the fruit of God’s work in his life was being seen and his life was reflective of a life being lived out to serve our heavenly creator.

John 15:1-11  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that  does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you,  unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

All of those years since, I and others have seen a complete transformation.  Out of darkness came a blessing of light that has touched the lives of so many.   He has over that last 9 years, become the man I prayed for him to become.  He may live in this world yet he too is not of this world.  He was called, he heard, he acted.  He has not taken the gospel for granted.  He studies, he craves the word, and he longs for truth.  All in God’s timing!

John 15:16-17   You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another. 

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You may ask what in the world this has to do with my joy.  Well, yesterday my beloved husband was blessed with the induction of becoming a deacon in our church.  This is not a role to be taken lightly.  For many months our family in Christ has been praying over those being called into this position, and we have been praying that “God’s Will Be Done”.

1 Timothy 3:8-13  Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.  They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.  Their wives must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.  Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their  own households well.  For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.  

I was asked by several people yesterday how I felt to be a deacons wife.  Honestly, I am not sure I should feel any different.  After all, my husband has been called to a role he is meant to serve in, and I am gladly sitting by supporting him, just as I have been supporting him our entire 21 years of marriage.

Romans 12:3  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself  more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  

If I have to admit to any feeling, it would be joy.  Joy over the transformation  that has carried my husband out of death and into Life.

John 20:30-31  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God, is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am not overly joyful about titles, yet I am overjoyed at the knowledge I have of where we have been and where we are today.  I am also overjoyed at knowing that God’s timing is perfect, in every way and that my husbands serving heart embraces God’s will.

Romans 14:16-18    So do not let what you regard as good to be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God  is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved  by men.

Since I know he reads my blogs, I want to add one more thing:

Honey, I love you and am pleased to be on this journey with you.  Together,  we can support one another through all that comes our way with the strength of  Jesus Christ.  I love you!

I know that I am not alone in saying congratulations.  🙂  

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Jim would be proud that you have been a willing servant for He who rescued you out of death to give you Life and that you continue to trust in His will over all that comes your way.  I knew when I saw you helping Jim with his final walk toward everlasting peace with the Lord, that your were meant to serve your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  With this last year being so tough, you never wavered taking care of me.  

Thank you My Love, and yes, I am pleased to say I am a deacons wife!   

 

 

2 thoughts on “Joy Through Affliction”

  1. Sherry, this is so, so precious! I thank you for sharing the journey with your readers. May God be praised and honored! I have just printed it out for my non-computer-loving Student Prince!

    Your very moved sister in Christ,

    Joie

    1. Oh sweet Joie, I’m so glad you still get my posts. 🙂 As always, you made me cry. I aspire to be the example you are to so many. 🙂 Hugs…

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