I’ve spent the majority of my adult life dealing with trauma. As a counselor, it is just part of the job. Whether it is a soldier talking about losing his best friend or a young boy talking about losing his mom to an overdose, my calling was to provide comfort to the suffering. As I have gotten older, I am now in a phase of my life where it is no longer my job, but I still feel called to help those that are suffering. I have found that when we help other people, we never leave untouched. I will never see the world as okay. I have seen how broken the world can be, and once you have seen this, you can’t unsee it.
On the mild end, life can just seem unfair. On the extreme end, people can be downright evil towards each other. I learned to approach this by falling back on God’s promise that He is in control (Isaiah 14:24) and that He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). Over time, this has built a sense of, mostly calm, endurance of whatever is happening in my life. However, God is a God of cycles (Ecclesiastes 3). For everything there is a time and a season. The seasons of life are meant to get us ready for the next season. The rain comes in one season to make the plants grow in the next season. These plants die to make room for the next season. Sometimes God gives us grace in one season and when that time is up, He removes that grace and peace to move us on to the next season.
Lately God has been moving me out of the season of calm endurance. When difficult things happen in my life, I have been trying to stay calm and say, “He is enough.” and just endure it. However lately, I have not had peace in this. More and more, I am hearing, “This isn’t enough.” For over a month, I have been struggling with this and asking God what I am missing. What He has shown me is that enduring circumstances and knowing He is in control isn’t enough. I must endure with a joyful heart.
I have to look for where I can show His love in the circumstances I am going through. It can no longer be about how my circumstances affect me, but it must be about how I affect others in the circumstances I am going through. He is helping me to see that calm endurance was good, but that season is in the past. It is time to fight back against evil and darkness and to shine His light into the dark places.
So, what does this mean and how do we do this? The two things that combat Satan are joy and peace. The Bible says that Satan has come “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” but Christ has come to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10). In Nehemiah 8:10, it says “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When the disciples were persecuted, they left with joy in the hearts (Acts 13:52).
The first step to finding joy in what you are going through is to pray for it: “Lord, give me Your joy today. Help me to show Your love in what is going on around me.” Second, every day look for where God is blessing you. Find things that you are grateful for: “Lord, thank you for letting me wake up today, for my kids being healthy.” Find whatever you can be grateful for. Third, stay focused on the mission and not on yourself. No matter what you are going through, you can ask God to help you show His love to the people around you: “Lord, let my life be an example of Your love and peace.”
For me, now is the season to fight back, not to just endure. I will fight back by showing that no matter what is going on, His joy and peace is greater than Satan or any struggle I am going through. Where there is darkness, I will shine His light: The joy of the Lord is my strength.
— Written by Jeremiah
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