On the Plains of Moab Blog
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June 20, 2011, 8:12 AM

Be Joyful! (I Mean It.)

What can you say about a sermon that proclaims "Rejoice in trials"?  "Embrace misfortune"?  Is James out of his mind?  Obviously, easier said than done!  These are the kinds of sermons that get us laughed at by the smarter folks who have better things to do on Sundays than listen to this kind of crutched-ted nonsense.  (By the way, I just made that word up.)

And yet, I don't find it to be nonsense.  Quite meaningful, in fact.  I must tell you that I am having to live out that sermon at this very moment in my own life.  During the pastoral prayer yesterday in worship, I was overcome by emotion as I prayed for the little girl who will soon join our family.  I had to stop because I was about ready to cry.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks.  My attitude has not always been the best during this adoption.  The process has not been a pleasant one.  We have been at this for what feels like a decade.  We have spent a boat load of money that I would have surely used in far better ways -- in my own sinful estimation.  We have jumped through so many bureaucratic hoops that it has given me far more sympathy towards libertarianism than I have ever experienced in my life.

I am happy.  I have a beautiful wife.  Great kids.  Great job.  A mortgage and a wonderful community to live into.  Why do I need this hassle?  Why do I need to be adding to what is already, a perfect mix?  At this rate, I'll still be an on-the-job daddy when I should be a grandfather who gives the kids a date night when they need it.  You know, a few hours of spoil the grandkids thing?  I'm content.  (Unfortunately, the "godliness with contentment is great gain" line never worked with my wife throughout our ordeal.)

So, here we are, ready to go to China to expand our family.  Yesterday, and the days leading up to it, I am really wrestling with God's best for us personally and individually.  I know in the bottom of my heart that this is going to be such a tremendous blessing.  I know that this is going to be something that years from now, I won't even be able to come to grips with how selfish I was, and nearly missed out on an inestimable gift from God in this little girl.  And all because I thought I was content.

Yesterday's sermon was personal.  You need to know that I was preaching to myself.

What were the things on your mind?  What are the things/experiences/circumstances that you must really struggle to say, "I'm going to consider it all joy"?

Unless you just completely tuned me out yesterday, I know you have them.

Cheer up, God's in it one way or another.  May your joy come when you find out why.   

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