It’s interesting how this spiritual journey demonstrates many contradictions. Those who lose their life will gain it. Those who come in last will be first. And those who are going through really hard things should count it all joy…
I remember when this scripture first came alive to me. I had my first heartbreak and my whole world was crumbling around me. My very serious, committed relationship ended in betrayal. How could this be a joyful time???
But in many ways it was. I had supernatural PEACE, and LOVE, and STRENGTH. I made it through the storm and it worked for my good. In fact, I learned how to worship through the storm. But years have gone by and though the victories have been great the tests have gotten harder. I don’t have those manifestations of PEACE, LOVE, & STRENGTH. Instead His love, God’s love, is shown through my community. It is in the visit of a longterm friend, the daily text messages from my family and the understanding of those who share in my pain. I don’t have those manifestations and that’s hard for me. The girl who came to Jesus through dreams, signs and wonders. Who equates His love with feelings. But that is the test. I must know that love, real love, is not conditional. It’s not given and taken away based on our behavior. Instead, it is steady, sure, & faithful. It is wrapped in His Word which is eternal and says,
“I will never leave you or forsake you”.
I don’t have those manifestations I’m so used to in this season, but I have His Word. And I have His people. And I have my past memories that testify over and over and over of His goodness.
I count it all joy because there is still joy in hard seasons when He is with you in them. SHALOM
It’s in the darkness when the feelings and signs are gone that love grows deeper. Lately I’ve been taking solace in Romans 5:3-5 as well.