“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
I have had many tears and sorrows.
They began when my fourteen-year old sister died of cancer when I was nine years old. I knew that my sister was in heaven with Jesus, so it caused me to ask myself that if I died today, would I be in heaven with Jesus? This led me to my decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was baptized on May 13, 1956.
Forty-three years later, on May 13th, my 23-year old son committed suicide. Just like when my sister died, I was struggling with the question of “WHY”.
Why did this have to happen?
I received healing from the pain and grief of my son’s death through a prayer ministry in which God revealed to me that I had let Satan rob me of my joy. Jesus reclaimed my joy by freeing me of the lie I was believing that I was somewhat responsible for his death because I had not done enough to keep him alive. I realized I had a choice of how I wanted to live. I chose to cling to a loving, trustworthy and all-knowing God.
Two years to the month of our son’s death, I lay in a hospital bed undergoing a double mastectomy for stage 3 breast cancer, followed by months of chemo, radiation and sickness. When I threw off my wig after my daughter’s wedding ten months later, it was a declaration of thanksgiving to God for His favor upon me to give me life to praise Him. (Psalm 119:175)
Nineteen years later I was again lying in a hospital bed, this time undergoing a procedure for a brain aneurysm. Six months after the procedure an angiogram revealed the aneurysm was gone. I’ve had two more years of living with a grateful heart and a purpose to point people to Jesus. And I anticipate many more!
While tears and sorrows still come in various ways, knowing that God works in all things for my good and for His glory keeps hope alive.
When we experience sorrow and life’s biggest challenges we can choose our attitude, a freedom that cannot be taken from us. We can either sink into the miry clay of self-pity and despair that will lead to a hardened heart or we can choose to trust God to lift us up on a rock and establish our way which leads to a grateful heart. (Psalm 40:2)
The words in the third verse of the song “Through It All” by Andrae Crouch are my words of praise today.
“I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.”
Source: Easy Song. Songwriter: Andrae Crouch. Through It All lyrics © Clearbox Rights, LLC o/b/o Manna Music, Inc.