(Actual Column Online) Well, January did not start the way I had hoped. The bitterly cold weather only heightened the fact that I began the New Year under the weather, with an unknown virus that had stolen my sleep, and fatigued my body for days. Meetings were postponed, and ministry work was put on hold.
So instead of hitting the New Year running as I had originally planned, my unexpected physical condition knocked me to my knees. Interesting isn't it?
Perhaps therein lies the lesson that came in loud and clear as I wrestled with my obvious derailed plans.
God reminded me, through it all, that my "best foot forward" needs to be the one that begins on my knees. I admit, I probably would not have been so still, at rest, and conscious of prayer had I not been knocked out with this flu. It is that realization that is warming my soul.
I am reminded of the part of Psalm 30:5 that states, "Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning." This temporary setback had me also thinking about the many people who face every day in a weakened condition, perhaps fighting a debilitating disease or an emotional trauma, and yet muster everything within them to get up and face the day. Every day. Many even displaying joy in the process.
Joy you say? How do they do it? I believe they endure through with a perspective of purpose.
You see, joy is not a natural emotion, but an inward manifestation of a spiritual condition. I learned that personally through the many years I spent caged up in the depressing atmosphere of prison, yet I was able to maintain an inner joy and peace. With true joy as the medicine to the spirit, no adverse set of circumstances can steal it.
I am still feeling the effects of this cold, but these lessons have warmed my soul. God never brings us to a place of discomfort without providing for us a greater comfort in Himself.
I thought nothing good had been accomplished over those weak, exhausting days, yet after re-reading these thoughts, I am reminded that God is in the business of using everything we go through as the means necessary to grow us in Him; to open our eyes to see Him and our ears to hear Him; and to nudge our hearts to remind us of Who He is.
It is in those truths that I once again remember where true rest resides, not only for my body but for my soul.