Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Joyful Agony

When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

My insides churned with anxiety, generating a recipe for disaster. Within my heart mixed death, separation, despair, worry, panic, and torment while tears wet my face. How could I go on living? The weight of anguish was unbearable.

I numbly stepped out into the night air, straining through bleary eyes to locate my car. Dad lay dead inside the hospital and we had a funeral to plan. My summer break began in a way I never imagined. Why, Lord, why did You take my daddy? 

I got no response, or maybe I didn’t listen as dread made my stomach queasy. The future family get-together would force me to face our daughter. Please, Lord, help us not to have a showdown. Her choice to be with a boyfriend who controlled her life left us all in turmoil. We experienced a death of innocence with our college-aged daughter through her choices, infrequent visits, and many phone fights. A death of any kind wreaks havoc. God, it hurts so bad!

The Lord slowly began invading my life with His love through friends and family, or maybe I began to listen. His gentle peace trickled into my ravaged soul. I read His words of truth, grasping for help and realizing His faithfulness. “I am with you always,” Jesus said to me like He said to His disciples. I began to feel His presence, even while the agony remained. He walked alongside my sadness, sometimes carrying me, and I experienced a bittersweet existence with Him. Thank you, God, for depositing joy within my agony. 

Jesus must have experienced joyful agony at times, especially while walking the lonely road to crucifixion. He suffered rejection from friends and physical pain from Roman soldiers, yet His Heavenly Father stood close by, indwelling Him with strength and joy. He paid a bitter price for us all and received a sweet reward for His obedience. He came to earth to die for you and me, trading His righteousness for our sinfulness. His resurrection from death paved the way for our resurrection into eternal life and allows us to rise above our pain while on earth. 

Are you experiencing anxiety? Let the Lord’s truth invade your pain and allow His peace to reign. His joy will comfort you.

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