Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For the Tough Days...

Lest you think that because of what was written in my last post that I have it all figured out...I wanted to write down some encouragement for the days that being thankful and being glad for my sufferings feels like a near impossibility. This is as much for myself as for anyone who may read this.
All of these come from the magnificent blog that I highly recommend to anyone... . It's full of encouragement and words of wisdom.

“There is all the difference in the world between rejoicing and feeling happy. The Scripture tells us that we should always rejoice [Phil. 4:4]....To rejoice is a command, yes, but there is all the difference in the world between rejoicing and being happy. You cannot make yourself happy, but you can make yourself rejoice, in the sense that you will always rejoice in the Lord. Happiness is something within ourselves, rejoicing is ‘in the Lord.’ Take the fourth chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. There you will find that the great Apostle puts it all very plainly and clearly in that series of extraordinary contrasts which he makes: ‘We are troubled on every side (I don’t think he felt very happy at the moment) yet not distressed’, ‘we are perplexed (he wasn’t feeling happy at all at that point) but not in despair’, ‘persecuted but not forsaken’, ‘cast down, but not destroyed’--and so on. In other words the Apostle does not suggest a kind of happy person in a carnal sense, but he was still rejoicing." -Martyn Lloyd Jones

"We can make the right answer sound old hat, but I guarantee this: God will surprise you. He will make you stop. You will struggle. He will bring you up short. You will hurt. He will take his time. You will grow in faith and in love. He will deeply delight you. You will find the process harder than you ever imagined – and better. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. No matter how many times you’ve heard it, no matter how long you’ve known it, no matter how well you can say it, God’s answer will come to mean something better than you could ever imagine."
-David Powlison from his chapter in "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God"

"Whatever my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, or need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken,
My Father’s care circles me there,
He holds me that I shall not fall,
And so to Him I leave it all." -Samuel Rodigast

"It is a consoling thought that Christ is praying for us, even when we are negligent in our prayer life; that He is presenting to the Father those spiritual needs which were not present to our minds and which we often neglect to include in our prayers; and that He prays for our protection against the dangers of which we are not even conscious, and against the enemies which threaten us, though we do not notice it. He is praying that our faith may not cease, and that we may come out victoriously in the end." -Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p.403.

I hope that these have encouraged you in the days that are tough. Just to remember that rejoicing is a choice that doesn't require "happiness". And that through everything we have an advocate who prays on our behalf, things that we would never think of or know to pray, in Christ. What a fantastic source of strength to know we are prayed for by him.