Last night, just as I was closing down my day, something flashed across the screen of my phone. Huh. That was strange, so I took a second look. Somehow, I inadvertently launched email and this is what greeted me when I looked at the screen once more. Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him for help will be radiant with Joy.” Then I went on to read some good news about an affirmative answer to prayer. God said ‘Yes!’ Do you have any euphemisms you use to describe acts of prayer? In our family we talke about “dragging out our prayer rugs” and sometimes we don’t roll them up for weeks. We ‘PUSH’ Pray Until Something Happens until we are road weary from effort. Then when God is ready to answer, sometimes He says yes! We remember all the times in prayer where we reminded him that he promised to be our protection. Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
But what about when God says no? Is our reaction to argue with God and become angry? Or do we accept His sovereign choice for us and use this situation to strengthen our faith. If we love God and genuinely seek his will, we will rise above this circumstance and focus on what can be learned from it. Recently I was reading 1 John where it talks about the true test of loving God.
1 John 3:3-5 “The reality test on whether or not we love God’s children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome. Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.” Let’s finish that thought – the one way to experience joy, is to experience Jesus, the Son of God.
Or how do we feel when silence is all we hear? Then what? It’s so hard to accept the opposite of what we want. It’s difficult to wait when the complications of life present challenges and the answer is indiscernible. We have to wait too. Waiting – that’s like driving down a crowded street, seeing emergency vehicles behind and hearing the scream of sirens all around with no clear direction of where to go. Go straight, turn left, turn right; you can’t just stop. Sound familiar? The joy in this experience is to finally find a way out and know that we are safe and out of the danger zone.
Or maybe coasting is the more recognizable experience. Coasting can be good when used for reflection, meditation, and conscious decision making. Coasting is not profitable if depression and anxiety seep in. When God is silent, while we wait, remember these words in Matthew 11: 29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I’m going through a period of silence right now. I have read scripture and asked God to speak up because I can’t hear him. I’ve reminded him that his word is the light on my path – the path I’m trying to follow and he says, “That’s good. The path is there, read a little more of my word, and keep the light shining. I have not forgotten you.” This would be a good time to remember how people in David’s day reacted to God. Psalm 44:17-18 “All this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten You or betrayed Your covenant. Our hearts have not turned back; our steps have not strayed from Your path.” We experience joy when our hearts have not turned from God when trials come; instead we strengthen our faith when tempted to ditch God and run.
Can we have joy and peace whether God says yes, no, or wait? It’s a choice and one that requires unshakable faith. Isaiah 55:12 says “You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” I’m not expecting to hear mountains and hill sing, but to be peacefully guided is my ultimate joy ride. I’m up for the task. Are you?
First published here March 26, 2015.
Grace – Laura Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL1DNipyurM