“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
This verse has been a staple in my journey through Lyme disease.
There are 3 things that God has shown me when it comes to rejoicing in our sufferings that I’d like to share.
It’s a good & glorious thing to praise the Lord in the good times & to thank Him for the blessings He bestows upon us. BUT there’s something just sacred about praising & worshipping Him when we’re in pain & can’t see what’s on the other side on the mountain. He is always worthy to be praised, that doesn’t change because our circumstances, pain levels, or diagnosis change. We always have something to rejoice in because He saved us from death to life and we get to spend eternity with Him. It must delight Him so much to have us rejoice and delight in Him even in the hardest of situations.
Romans 5 says that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
As much as I wish these characteristics could come about another way, there’s something about being at the end of our rope that births these beautiful things in us. Even though Lyme is painful & wears me out at times, there’s something kind of exciting about thinking of all that’s being birthed in me through the pain. When I think about the work that He’s doing in me though Lyme it helps me to rejoice in the suffering.
Paul & Silas are a great example of this verse put into action. They were out preaching the good news, doing God’s work, when they got thrown into prison, shackled, & flogged.
I wonder what my reaction would’ve been? It may have sounded like, “Why Lord? I was doing the very thing you called me to do!” Where were you, why didn’t you protect me. What good am I going to do here in shackles in prison?”
But this is not how Paul & Silas responded. The Bible tells us that at about midnight while shackled in prison, they were praying & singing praises to God. Then there was such a violent earthquake that the prison doors flew open & their chains came loose. This poor prison guard! He thought he was going to be in big trouble so he was about to take his own life when Paul stopped him & reassured him that everyone was accounted for.
After seeing Paul & Silas praising God while they were in prison and watching as their chains came loose, this prison guard was curious & perplexed to say the least! He fell down trembling and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The guard & his whole family ended up surrendering their lives to God!
How different might this story have ended if Paul & Silas had grumbled & complained about being locked up, questioning God’s goodness. How different might our stories be if we also rejoice & praise God in the unknown, in the suffering, & when we can’t see what’s on the other side of our mountains.
There is power in rejoicing in the Lord in our suffering!
I know it’s not easy when we’re in pain & missing out on things, but if we put these truths into practice, God will be glorified through our lives and through our pain. In our rejoicing we can’t help but be changed and, like Paul & Silas experienced, maybe those around us will too!
- Samantha Bean