Have you noticed after a natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane, or even a simple house fire, survivors make statements like, “Thank God we survived. Nothing else really matters.”
In the midst of total loss, people often find the silver lining. Jesus prayed the above prayer shortly before being arrested and crucified. Yet, in the midst of asking God to remove the cup of crucifixion from him, he also speaks of his joy. He longs for his disciples to have the full measure of his joy within them.
I’ve known many discontented people in my life, as well as a few contented folks. The stark contrast is those with little are unencumbered by this earthly life. They’re more likely to praise God for the little they have than to whine about the things they don’t have. Even when faced with more loss, or possible death, they find the words and joy to praise God.
Maybe the key is found in Jesus’ words. “…for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.”
A book I read many years ago, These Strange Ashes, by missionary Elisabeth Elliot, records her first missionary journey as a young single woman in 1952 into the jungles of Ecuador. Her work included devising a written alphabet so a written language could be established for the Colorado Indians. She spent nine months living among them in a primitive lifestyle. She entrusted a fellow missionary to return to the city with her work and then went to another part of the jungle to study the Quichua. A short time later, Elisabeth received a letter from the missionary informing her that the suitcase carrying all of her work had been stolen. This is an excerpt from the book:
It’s our choice to give in to despair or choose joy when faced with hardship. Joy tells you, no matter what, God is there. He cares. He will provide peace and comfort that nothing and no one else can. Cling to that promise today.
©Laura Hodges Poole