Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Experiencing Joy While in Pain

Chuckle: Walking by, a lady noticed a little boy trying to reach the door bell of a house. She walked over and rang it for him and asked, "OK, what now?" "Run like crazy," he answered. "That's what I'm gonna do."
Quote: "Joy untouched by thankfulness is always suspect." --Theodor Haecker

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it (my physical ailment) away. Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9a NLT).
We all know health problems can occur at any age, but increase as we grow older. I'm aware that some of my senior adult readers suffer from various physical ailments and limitations. Growing old can be a real challenge and if we aren't careful we can lose the joy God wants for us regardless of our age or physical condition.
In our passage, the apostle Paul tells us about a physical ailment he suffered and calls it a "thorn in the flesh." He prayed that God would heal him, but God chose not to do so. Instead He told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you." In other words, God may allow you to suffer physically, but, if so, His grace is all you need to endure. Even with his physical limitation and imprisonment, Paul constantly talked about his joy and rejoiced because of his relationship with his Lord (Romans 5:11).
If you are suffering from health problems, especially those associated with aging, you may feel discouraged and depressed, and generally see life as painful and difficult. If so, I have some suggestions for your consideration.
1. Ask God to renew the joy you felt when you first gave your heart to Christ. "Rejoice; I say again, rejoice" because of your relationship with our living Lord.
2. Continue to grow spiritually by spending time studying God's Word and other wholesome materials. Never stop learning from God and from other people.
3. Strengthen your prayer life, and focus your prayers on others, not yourself. Prayer is a powerful ministry you can do even with aching joints or a bad back.
4. Reach out and touch someone who may be worse off than you. It's amazing how much better you will feel when you think of others instead of yourself. Also, you won't have as much time to dwell on your own problems.
5. Stay active as long as you can -- even when it hurts. An active body and mind, as long as physically possible, will bring fulfillment and happiness.
6. Find ways to minister to others even if you have physical limitations. Be an encourager by phone, e-mail, or cards to those who need a kind word and will be happy to know someone cares. (Philippians 2:3)
As a pastor, I've been amazed at the upbeat and optimistic attitude of many senior Christians. They know the supernatural joy God's Holy Spirit placed in their hearts is not dependent upon their physical condition. Even when facing imminent death, many have smiles on their faces and are joyful to the very end.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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