Joy Anyway

 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
Psalms 16:1-2

I am very weary today. It has been a challenging few weeks with bad news coming from many directions — friends and family afflicted with sickness both rare and mundane, tragic deaths, financial difficulties, and marital strife. There is a veritable sea of suffering all around.

On a milder level, the students in my little home academy are struggling under the weight of the general sense of blah that pervades the post-Christmas winters in our part of the country. The grey and gloomy days, the brief hours of daylight, and the contrast of the dreary days following so closely the former holiday cheer all congeal into a rather sluggish mass of disconsolate attitudes and sibling relations.

However, none of this gets to me for long. Oh, I admit, I have my moments. Believe me, I am far from perfect, nor have I yet attained the goal of the upward call in Christ!  But what I do have is another year of spiritual training under my belt; a deeper understanding of the goodness and sovereignty of my God and a more intimate communion with Him that lightens the burden of external circumstances.

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
Psalms 16:5-6

In my fourth decade of life, I am finally beginning to put some meat on the bones of my faith.  For the first time, the burden of compassion for suffering loved ones is not overwhelming to me.

Why? Because the lines for me have fallen in pleasant places. My life is not free from conflict; my homeschool is not full of eager, willing students clambering over themselves to excel in a passion of educational ecstasy.  My heart is not unaffected by the pain of those around me.  My peace exists in spite of these things. I know that all of these trials are temporary.  My God, however, is eternal; and it is in Him alone that I find my comfort and strength to go on.

I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. . .

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalms 16:8-9, 11

I pray that you, too, will find your joy in the Lord today no matter what is going on around you.

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