Insights from Esther Joy Hunter
"Pain has not been a stranger to me! And I’ll be the first to admit that I have not always been full of joy! I have become acquainted with pain in many forms, whether physical, financial or emotional. None of us can go through life without facing some kind of trials. I could mention some of the things I have gone through, and you might say, "I’ve never gone through anything that bad!" …Or you might say, "That’s not suffering. She has no idea what it means to hurt!"
We are all different in the way we handle things, and so we cannot really compare our griefs, losses or troubles. What seems unbearable for one person may seem trivial for someone else. We are all uniquely made by God and only He fully understands what we are going through. (Psalm 103:13-14)
Trials and pain bring out what is inside of us, whether it’s our best or our worst! We know that God uses troubles to purify us just as fire gets rid of the impurities in precious metals, but it doesn’t mean that we like going through them. (Proverbs 17:3)
When I am in the middle of "the furnace", I don’t always see things clearly. Sometimes I question God as well as myself. I hate to admit it, but there have been times when I felt God overloaded me and it seemed that it would be easier to die than to face life. In those dark days when things don’t seem to make any sense, that’s when I have to keep plodding on and muddling through, in faith putting head knowledge of Scripture into practice. One author called it, "Dancing in the Dark." James Dobson called it "Trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense." A friend of mine who lost her husband put it this way, "In time my heart will catch up with my head." I guess that’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he said "We walk by faith, and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:12)
In my darkest hours, leaning on the Sovereignty of Almighty God gives me comfort. This is what God taught Job. (Job 38-41) He didn’t explain Himself to Job about why He had allowed him to go through such horrific trials. Instead, He expounded on the greatness of His wisdom, magnificence and power. That seems to be the key to help me flourish instead of flounder through suffering.
For me, this means to take the focus off myself and put it on God. Psalm 116:17 says, "I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the Name of the LORD." When I praise Him for His greatness and worship Him for who He is, it becomes my sacrifice of thanksgiving. If I am having a pity-party, this can be very challenging and is indeed a sacrifice to give up my rights to be unhappy! To help me change my mind-set, I sometimes have to force myself to think on who God is. I do this by focusing on some of the many names and descriptions of God. This helps me reflect on Who He is, and how big and wonderful my God is. The things that would have driven me to despair become of less importance as I see that He is in control.
Laura’s "Not About Me November Challenge" reminds me of what I often have to do to give myself an attitude adjustment. Paul challenges us in Philippians 4:8 to think on "things that are excellent and worthy of praise". Very literally I take time to sit down, grab my pen and paper, and begin writing good things, focusing on what I have, instead of what I have not. If I am allowing a person to steal my joy, I try to write at least ten good things about that person. When I dwell on my blessings, God changes my perspective about my situation. He helps me quit my "stinking thinking" and walk in joy – even in hard times!"
Esther Joy Hunter
To learn more about Esther and how God is helping her to pursue joy head on over to Esthers Joy in the Mourning. And you can also become a fan on facebook. And to see some of her short studies on the names of God check out Rock 4 Today.
You might also want to check out her book Joy in the Mourning ($5.49 in kindle).
Thank you so much for authentically sharing your insights and heart with us Esther!
Tomorrow is the start of Not About Me November. Come by to link up your post each weekday until Thanksgiving. (And don't forget to tweet it with the hashtag #NotAboutMeNovember)
#1000 gifts list
#255 fireplace going for a prayer night for ammendment 62 in mississippi to define babies in the womb a person.
#256 the boys last day of preschool tomorrow-so the anticipation of seeing God's grace abound in starting to homeschool them.
#257 strong desire to write and time in the schedule to do it
#258 the wooing of God to dream and think and plan about writing my second Bible Study.
I'm linking up with:
A Holy Experience, Shanda Oakley Inspires, The Beauty in His Grip, Laura Boggess and Nebraska Graceful