“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…I know, I know, I know, I know, I know…” Have you ever got a song stuck in your brain and it replays over and over and you can’t stop it? Well, that song does it to me every time, and my sweet husband, whom I love dearly, can aggravate me in a split second by quietly singing that song!
God did that to me one time, and He used a children’s church chorus. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” And He did it when the last thing in the world I wanted to do was rejoice. And that is exactly why He did it. It happened a few weeks after we buried our daughter, Jamie, and I was in that dark valley of grief, pain, and loss.
My initial response was frustration and anger with God. That didn’t make the music stop, however, so I finally conceded and went to the Bible to see if that is really a Scripture. It is. Philippians 4:4. What was I supposed to do now? Obey. So I assembled all the faith I could, which was difficult to do in that moment, and began to think of anything and everything for which I am thankful. Slow at first, the effort gradually gathered momentum. That day, God held my hand and walked me out of that low place.
How and why did that happen? God did it because I redirected my eyes off me and onto Him and His Word. God and I have done that several times together lately.
In Psalm 6, King David is in the valley of pain and despair. We find him in the depths of pain from four sources: sin, physical pain, emotional pain, and outward enemies. Few of us will ever experience all four simultaneously. What did David do? He refocused, taking his eyes off himself and directing them back on God. He reminds himself who God is, what God can do and has done for him in the past, and the truth of His Word. We must do the same when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death.
Even the Apostle Paul experienced great joy in the midst of intense suffering and persecution. So can we. “In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds” (2 Corinthians 7:4).
We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving, and I’m still thankful today! I want to keep this thankful heart throughout the Christmas season and beyond. I have learned the lesson that it is possible, as we walk with Jesus Christ through this life, to experience pain and thankfulness at the same time. In fact, pain, peace, and joy can coexist. I choose to feed thankfulness, peace, and joy by staying connected to God and the Bible.
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!”