Tears are streaming down my face. Today has been such a difficult day. My daughter, who has been serving as a counselor at UGM Camp, may have lice; the two campers who had lice were both in her cabin. And my car needs a new starter and is leaking power steering fluid. And I spilled a coffee (which someone bought me as a special treat) in my husband’s car. We’ve had sick kids for almost two weeks, and another kid is sick, with a different set of symptoms. And I’m tired, physically, mentally, emotionally.
I know it isn’t true, but sometimes it seems like since we’re full-time minsters of the Gospel, we shouldn’t have as many challenges. Like we should get a special pass or something, you know? But that is most definitely not true. Jesus said that in this world, we will have trouble. But not to fear, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). James said we need to consider it pure joy when we face challenges, because God is keeping His promise in Romans, to make us like Jesus. And I want to be like Jesus, at least in theory.
In theory, I want to be conformed. I want to glorify Jesus. I want to be like Him. But in reality, that is a painful, difficult process that reveals ugliness – in me! I hate seeing my brokenness. I hate seeing how far short of God’s glory I truly fall. It is just plain yucky.
Paul said that his challenges were light and momentary. If anyone could have complained, it was Paul. He knew far more challenging circumstances than I do. And yet, he didn’t. He kept his eyes on Jesus and the prize. He struggled (2 Cor 1:8, 9), but he didn’t lose heart.
So, as I sit at the feet of Jesus, overwhelmed and discouraged by my circumstances, I choose to bring a sacrifice of praise. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, thinking about who He is, what He has done, and how worthy of praise He is, my circumstances begin to fade and my heart is filled with joy. How can I not praise Jesus? How can I not?