FAITH THROUGH THE FIRE
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” —1 Peter 1:7
To be able to pen these words has been a journey itself… I am thankful for the gentle nudges, the tears and smiles that ensued in the process. Rejection is hard and it hurts, but the truth is that it’s part of our lives. In my 45 years, I’ve learned that rejection and adversity can actually come with silver linings and they can lead to a tenacity of faith that otherwise would not have been.
In my life, I’ve experienced two open heart surgeries. These surgeries were 180 degrees different. The main difference between these two traumatic events was where my faith was. The first surgery was in 2008. I felt blind-sided by my heart condition. I was going through a divorce, losing my house, rehoming my dogs and trying to figure out how to raise a toddler on my own. I felt scared and unsure.
Less than ten years later, in 2017, I had to have a second surgery. This time I felt confident and secure in my faith. I was married to the love of my life and we had a home together and were on a new journey with a focus on God. Our lives were filled with growing kids and more blessings than hardship. I felt like my life was a country song that had come full circle.
While it’s difficult to say exactly “what happened” or what changed in those 9 years, here are some of the things that I learned: I learned that God does not cause hardship and rejection to happen in our lives, but God has the power to redeem what is broken and to redirect us so that we may fulfill His purpose for our lives.
When God says “no,” there is a reason, a plan and an outcome. We can look for joy, be glad and rejoice because He never ignores, leaves or fails us.
Although rejection may not feel like any sort of protection, protection will be the final outcome if we trust God. He will always protect us. His Word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” —Romans 8:28
Learning the difference between joy and happiness played a big part in my walk through rejection and hardship and it took time. Joy is being dependent on who Jesus is and how much He loves us, rather than on who we are or what is happening around us. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, abiding in God’s presence and from hope in His word. Happiness is subjective and completely based on what is happening in our lives at this moment. Whereas joy stems from the heart. Happiness is just on the face. Joy is of the soul. Happiness is of the moment.
Joy transcends. Happiness reacts. Joy embraces peace and contentment, waiting to be discovered. Joy is a practice and a behavior, it’s deliberate and intentional. Happiness comes and goes blithely along its way, fleeting just as quickly as it appears.
I’ve found, in my life, that joy endures every rejection, hardship and heartache and connects us with meaning and purpose. While a person can pursue happiness, my suggestion is that we seek joy—this is ultimately a choice.
STEPS OF FAITH
Thank you for loving us through every season of life, the mountains, the valleys and every path in between. Please continue to guide us to choose joy, practice joy, know joy and live joy, just as Jesus did, even as He hung on the cross. Thank you for bringing joy into our lives so that we may begin to understand what the true meaning of joy and love are, as we strive to be like You. Amen.
DEEPER WALK SCRIPTURE
Peter 5:10, James 1:12, Genesis 50:20, 2 Timothy 1:9, Nehemiah 1:5