Finding Joy In The Storm

Be joyful always. Pray continuously.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Recently, a child whom I had agreed to babysit for a few minutes before school, wandered through my home, quietly checking things out.

Having never been in our house and not knowing very much about us, she took notice of the full toy box in our family room, asked where the bathroom was, and seemed to hover around wherever I was.
In the kitchen, she said "you have such a pretty house.  I love your kitchen."

My response was an embarrassed chuckle followed by, "thank you, but I don't really like the wallpaper…or the flooring…or this house." 

Then in the hallway, she said "I really like your house.  It's so big.  And you have a huge TV!"   I thought to myself that she should have seen the house I used to live in, which was gorgeous and enormous in comparison to this one.

As quickly as that thought bounced through my mind, thoughts of compassion for this girl and her family's circumstances rushed in.  She and her sister are no doubt loved very much by their single mom.  They are happy little girls and so polite too.

The thing is, I don't get the impression they have a whole lot of money to come and go on.  Yet, they aren't sad or depressed or ungrateful.  This is simply the life they've always known.

Recognizing this fact, I found myself once again repentant before the Lord.  I can be such a spoiled brat sometimes.  Yet through the eyes of an innocent child, God spoke to me.  I have so much to be joyful about, even during our long season of unemployment!

God used this little girl's perspective as a way to remind me of all He has done and continues to do for me.  While I view our present living situation as small and unattractive, she viewed it almost as if it were a beautiful mansion.

Satan has a way with manipulating our focus, doesn't he?  His mission is to shift our thoughts from being grateful for all God has done for us, to shining a spotlight on the one or two things we've yet to acquire or accomplish.

It's in these moments when we begin to doubt God and build a barrier of selfishness around us, falling prey to temptation.  Before we know it, we've started to make plans and choices without including God in the decision making process.

We think our way is better than God's way.  In essence, we begin to place our own worldly desires above God.  So we fall right into the trap our enemy has set.

Does satan have you in his trap?  If so, now is an excellent time to fall on your knees in prayer remembering and praising God for who He is and for all He has done.

When life is hard, as is the case for so many people in this awful recession, it is difficult to see God at work in our life. Sometimes we can't help but let the tears fall.  It's so easy to feel sorry for ourselves. To feel like our world has come to an end.

I've certainly cried a river of tears over our financial hardship.  Every time I do, it's because I feel weak and beaten down by our circumstances.

Some days it just feels like too much to bear.  The sense of overwhelming chaos in my head gets the best of me and I simply want to throw in the towel.  Give up.  Walk away from all of it.

Then guilt consumes me.  After all we've had to endure over the years, shouldn't I be stronger than this?  Why am I responding with such weakness?  I know I've grown, so why does it continue to be so painful?

Perhaps you've also felt this way.  It helps to think about the science in how a muscle gains strength.   A muscle, when it isn't being worked, stretched, or exercised in any way deteriorates. It's weak…almost useless in some cases.

What you've been reading is a short excerpt from Chapter 4 of the book, UnEMPLOYED Faith.

To read more, get your copy today for only $4.99.  Available in Kindle, NOOK, and PDF.