Last May for mother’s day the women of our church celebrated by traveling out to one of our sister village churches to worship with them. We all gathered at 7 am and boarded our small bus. The voyage started out smooth until about 45 minutes into our trip when we all heard a loud popping sound. One of the tires had blown. We turned around and drove back to the nearest town and waited about 45 minutes while the drive took off the 2 blown tired and got replacements on. This only began our journey with this bus. After that it started overheating regularly, so every 10 or 15 minutes the driver would stop and put more water in. At one point it got stuck in the sand so 8 or so of us women got out and pushed it to get going. Then it seemed like it was struggling to get into gear and so every time he would go into 1st gear it would jump forward. The driver avoided slowing down as much as possible which was not the most ideal for driving in town. Then just before arriving back in the evening the another popping sound happened. Thankfully we were just rounding the corner to our destination and everyone cheered to have made it home.
As I was processing later, I started realizing how much this journey is like life. Sometimes we have a smooth ride, but often there are bumps and jolts on the road. During those bumps we are well aware of how low our tank is and how much we need God just to make the journey. The first part of the trip when all was going smoothly the women were singing praise songs and joy could be heard during the traveling. On the way back as the bus seemed more and more questionable about getting us home, the atmosphere changed as worry increased.
Scriptures tells us we should have joy and rejoice at all times. One of the things I have been wrestling with is how to have joy in those times when everything seems to be falling apart. As we follow closely with the Lord, we will have more times like the end of this journey when our car was falling apart than the beginning where everything was going smoothly and we hardly thought about if we would make it. We can see this multiple times in scriptures. God works through our weaknesses…uh super uncomfortable. He asks us to follow his example which was one of sacrifice. We live in a broken world with broken people which means we will often be driving a car close to breaking down.
My journey here has helped me to accept that life has suffering and hardship and I am usually am not taken by surprise when that happens. However I still struggle to keep a spirit of joy as things fall apart or I break down. So that is the journey I am on. Learning to have joy in all circumstances. I don’t have all the answers but here is a small picture of what I am learning…
- REMEMBER… that words shows up in scripture so much for a reason. We need to remember what God has done, who we are, and his promises
- THANKSGIVING… a spirit of thanksgiving helps to point us back to the Lord which is where our eyes need to be if we want Joy. There is always something to be thankful for.
- ABIDE… joy in hardship and suffering is only possible through the Lord and not through our own strength.
- FEEL…having joy doesn’t mean we diminish the the hardship or hurt of sufferings. Even Jesus pleaded with God in the garden. I love that we had a God who isn’t afraid of our feelings.
- CONNECT… God put us in a body of believers for a reason, how can we allow others to carry our burdens and walk this journey with us so they can spur us on.