“Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials” (James 1:2 NASB)
Today, Catherine, opens up her journey to learn how to apply this verse in the midst of watching her 21-year-old son, Ryan, fight against cancer. Catherine would appreciate your prayers as you follow Ryan’s Race. – Rosie
Immersed in Tears, Yet Filled with Joy
by Guest Catherine Troutt Ramshaw
January 26th, fever; It was to be a “good week”, plans, fun, basketball, anticipation of normal, not cancer. Instead, admitted, overnight, a precaution, the night wore on, spiking to 103.3; over and over. Days, fever drained him, his breath no longer detected by the monitors. Masks, gowns, gloves, breathing machine, isolation, ICU, scared.
Joy! Lord how? Joy in all of this? Life drains from his body, eyes grow dull. Count it all Joy?
Why does God call us to rejoice in times of trial? And what does that look like? And how? We serve a God who sent His only son to die for us. Christ has felt every sadness we have ever felt. In the garden He sweats drops of blood, asking the Father, if you are willing remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done. Luke 22:42 Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:8) Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross. Heb 12:2.
There is that word again, Joy. I can’t pretend to understand or fathom all that Christ endured to fulfill God’s plan; His obedience to death. Christ alone in the garden, his disciples just feet away, asleep, crying out to the Father. My grief, alone in a dark hospital room, watching my child, sick, suffering as he slept, I would stand at the end of his bed and beg God to please not make him go through this pain, please don’t make me watch.
There in the midst of my sorrow I went to Him. I begged for our circumstances to change. How Lord? And Joy? It doesn’t make sense, a paradox of epic proportion. It felt like a conversation that lasted for days with no answer. Until the transfer to the ICU, the journey from one end of the hospital to the other, alone again, as I approached the long hallway joining the two towers, I heard almost like a friend standing next to me, “I’m not asking you to be happy about this.” That was it. No explanation, no elaboration. Those words sat, just sat in my mind for days.
Why does God call us to have joy, rejoice amidst our trials, hurts, pain? After days of hurt I believe I’m getting closer to an answer. I think it is a gift that comes wrapped in some really ugly paper, horrible circumstances. When He calls us to joy right in the middle of our tears, we must seek Him for that joy. You can’t fabricate joy when you are watching your child suffer or fill in your situation of hurt. God isn’t calling us into some fake exterior, a painted on smile with a parade wave at the crowds. What is appealing about a God like that? In the garden, the Father doesn’t remove the cup, but He does provide the strength for Christ to fulfill His purpose. I have found in these last two months of journey, a trial I never envisioned, that I must keep my eyes on Christ or the doubts and fears DESTROY me, debilitate me. I have no chance of survival without Him, not for one day.
My hope is in Him, as this is not all there is.
My strength is in Him, as it is only when I am completely focused on Him and not on my circumstances that I can stand.
My joy is in Him, as I know that He is the only thing holding me through this journey.
No I am not happy about this, but I don’t think He is calling us to happy. No matter the circumstances I can have joy when I focus on Him, because of who He is and all He has done. “immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy” Paul 2 Cor 6:10
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