God never makes you suffer unnecessarily. He intends for your suffering to heal and purify you. The hand of God hurts as little as it can.

Do not waste your suffering. Let suffering accomplish what God wants it to in your life. Never get so hard that you suffer for no reason and for no purpose. Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” How much He must love those who cheerfully give themselves to His dealings.

Francis Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place

 

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My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

 

 

Fenelon in this passage from 100 Days In The Secret Place goes on to talk about how anxiety can sometimes be a resistance of the work of God in our lives. “The yoke that God gives is easy to bear if you accept it without struggling to escape.” He encourages us to count it all joy – and not just to give verbal assertion to that but to really count it as JOY – real joy – not a response filled with fear and anxiety – but an authentic joy and peace that we are in the hand of God.

How do we do this?

In real life suffering and the outworking of the refinement by God is not mostly pleasant.

It is painful and emotional. It may be physical illnesses or hardship.  It involves change and loss. 

What the joy can be defined as is I think is the constant trust and constant mental choice to keep our eyes fixed on our God – a mindfulness -  remembering (remember = stirring our hearts to faith) WHO He is and how wonderful and how He is near and good and great and merciful and faithful and the good things He has done and is doing and will do in our lives.

The joy is stirred when we remind ourselves of the promises of God – we feel less alone and less anxious because we know God is at work and that is a good thing.

It is as David does in 1 Samuel 30 – he STRENGTHENS himself in the Lord and that powers him up to continue to press on.

We count what we experience as BENEFITIAL perhaps is a better way of looking at it, and so we try to keep our attitude full of faith, full of hope and full of “God is great” instead of the negativity of looking down at our feet, at the circumstance and the emotions that arise. 

We stand tall despite the storm raging around us, confident that Jesus is with us.

I’m not talking about “faking it to you make it” but about monitoring our thoughts to respond in the right heart… (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ;)

God is at work in us transforming us and shaping us.

Surrendering to God rather than fighting makes the process somewhat easier… we’re not trying to swim against the current then. Emotions are fine. It is fine to be emotional – as people that is “the way we work.” Manage the emotions – not at the expense of being real, but manage them so that instead of spiralling into despair we continue to press on with confidence and faith, instead of isolating ourselves we continue to comfort others as God comforts us.

Remember – God is good. His mercy endures forever. His love is everlasting. His grace covers all. He knows us. He loves us. He has plans and purposes for us. He is creative. He likes us. He is near. He hears us. He speaks to us. He nurtures us. He guides us. God is good…

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