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Joy and Suffering

  1. This has been a tough year for the Walthour family, and it is only June.

I almost died in an accident. I should have died, but God, in His mercy, decided that it wasn’t my time. They didn’t completely know the extent of my injuries, but they are hopeful for a full recovery. My youngest brother is in the hospital because he almost died from an infection. The doctors have no idea why or how he got it, or even what it is. He is weak but he is alive.

Needless to say, suffering is a common thread through our family. Joy and suffering. Those two words are complete opposites. James 1:2 states, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds”. How can you have joy in suffering? I am still wrestling with that question. The truth I cling to is that God is good. He must have a purpose for all this. Even when I have bad days, I hold onto that.

I am not always joyful. My family can attest to that, but even in those moments when joy seems so far away, I aim for Christ. I aim for His will. As followers of Christ, we are not entitled to a suffering free life. We should not be surprised by suffering, but we should plan on experiencing some. Jesus suffered, so why should we expect not to. 1 Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you.”

God is good. Even though I go through suffering, I see God’s faithfulness. I am able to have joy in God’s faithfulness to care for my soul. I think that is where my joy comes from. I see His faithfulness, even in the hard moments-especially in those moments. When I can’t do it by myself, He provides the strength to move forward.

I see His love in every moment, if only I look for them. I don’t want to be back in Mansfield. To be living at home. I was excited about living on my own-making my own way in the world.

While this is not what I would have chosen, I see God’s love in the unexpected. In the quiet moments, when I doubt God’s plan for the next step, He whispers, “Trust me. I’ve got a beautiful plan for you.”

I trust Him. He is writing my story, and He never leaves me alone in it. When I heard that BJ was being life flighted to Nationwide, I was scared-scared that I would lose my baby brother. God wrapped me in His arms and gave me this supernatural peace. He calmed my fears.

Joy and suffering. I’m still wrestling with what that means, but I do know one thing. Suffering makes me a little more like Christ.  If I can share, to other people going through the same thing, the way God helped me wade through it, then the suffering has a positive spin later. If it points to Christ, then it’s worth it. I can have joy in that.

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