Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Thursday Thoughts: Joy Mingled with Grief

on August 22, 2013

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

Sometimes when my husband, Dave is grieved about a trial or situation that God has placed in his pastoral lap I get very frustrated in response. As a pastor, Dave has burdens either that are his own or that members of his congregation share with him. In order to protect me and to maintain confidentiality of those he shepherds, he does not share these burdens with me. Yet, because he is my husband, I want him to be free of burdens! And so I demand care-free happiness of him.

Then I read 1 Peter 1:6-7.

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Reality: We all have trials. Our trials may be very different in type and intensity (“various trials”).  But all these trials do cause grief. Peter says that they were grieved by their trials. It is natural to grieve over trials.

The Reason: The various trials God sends are necessary to prove the genuineness of our faith. We grow through our trials. I can be frustrated about Dave’s trials all the day long, but the reason he goes through them is to purify and prove his faith. (Perhaps one of my trials is watching Dave go through his trials and learning to respond correctly myself?!)

The Response:  Joy. “In this you rejoice. . . you have been grieved by various trials.” Rejoicing in your grief. Hmmm. Much easier said than done. But, a necessary response, though not a natural response. A natural response is grief, and that’s ok as long as our grief doesn’t over-whelm us to the point that we wallow in grief and become angry, self-pitying, and bitter. We must choose joy.

The Reward: If present spiritual growth is not enough of a motivator to help us choose joy, God gives another future, eternal motivation. Our faith “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor” when Jesus returns. Those who choose to have joy in trials are worthy of praise, glory, and honor. And this, in turn, brings praise, glory, and honor to Christ!

So, what can we learn?

  • It’s ok when others grieve over the trials God sends them. And it’s ok for us to grieve too.
  • We need to remember that these trials are good for our spiritual growth.
  • We need to correctly respond to trials, and not get angry instead. We need to rejoice that we have opportunity to grow. We need to pray that others would respond correctly in their various trials.
  • We need to strive to bring honor and glory to Christ in our responses.

How has God taught you joy in the midst of grief?

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