Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why the fight?

When I look back on the mountains and valleys of my life, I see that most of the time, in the valleys, I am clinging to His hand, chattering in His ear, stopping for a rest on the Rock, and asking for His hugs.

However, in the mountains, perhaps I see some wildflowers to pick; feel like I can run around, without holding His hand. Make no mistake: He is there, but, it is because of that time with Him in the valley, that I am able to fully embrace what it means to be at the peak.

To see God for who He really is, we must understand that He is in the peaks and the valleys. We must walk with Him in those places, fighting to see and understand who He really is.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." ~II Corinthians 1:3-7

And, from Elisabeth Elliot's devotional:

Repeatedly I am asked variations of this question: Did the Lord comfort you or were you sometimes lonely or sad? It is not an either-or thing. If I had not been lonely and sad at times, how could I have needed, received, or appreciated comfort? It is the sick who need the physician, the thirsty who need water. This is why Paul not only did not deplore his weaknesses, he "gloried" in them, for they provided the very occasions for his appropriating divine help and strength.

It was in prison that Joseph knew the presence of the Lord.

It was in the lion's den that Daniel's faith was proved.

It was in the furnace that Daniel's three friends found themselves accompanied by a fourth.

We have plenty of "proof texts"--but in order to experience their truth we have to be placed in "proof contexts." The prison, the lion's den, the furnace are where we are shown the realities, incontestably and forever.
The fight for Joy is a continual fight to see God for who He really is. And isn't that what we are all longing for anyway? True joy comes from God, from our relationship with Him. Abiding in Him. Letting Him love through us. Knowing what His will is...doing it...through His strength. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a gift. It must be fought for relentlessly.

There are a few more worthy ways of "Fighting for Joy" on Piper's list that I feel a need to mention as I close this series on "Fighting for Joy in Motherhood".

They are:

~Make a proper use of God's revelation in nature. Run and get the Planet Earth series. Amazing footage that screams God.
~Read great books about God and biographies of great saints. Want to share your favorites? I'd love to hear. I've yet to read Corrie Ten Boom, and I hear that's a good one.
~Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached.
So much could be said here. I think we know why this is important.
~Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).

And finally:
~Be patient in the night of God's seeming absence.
If and when you don't feel Joy...be patient. Continue to fight. I encourage you, and encourage myself. It is not hard, if we are abiding and living in Him.

Blessings to you all. :) I have really enjoyed delving into what it means to Fight for Joy in Motherhood. I have so appreciated all your comments and emails regarding it, for it is wonderful to know there are others on this journey.

All "Fighting for Joy" posts.


Beck said...

I've never read any Elizabeth Eliot - and yet I'm always coming across quotes by her that seem to strike me to my very marrow. I think I should probably track down her books and read them.

Joyful Days said...

This is a wonderful post. It sums up my goal for this year.


goodlikeamedicine said...

This is one of the best posts I think I've ever read from you. Thanks so much for writing it all out for us. Blessings to you in the said journey of fighting for joy.

AIMEE said...

have loved your "fighting for joy" series...i have always struggled in trusting my emotions vs. living by faith. Even though I don't *feel* joy, I can have it by faith which is comforting. The feelings may or may not come but I can look to Him to receive it from His hand.

Trina said...

Corrie Ten Boom is an amazing story. My son and I also enjoyed reading about Lillian Trasher and Gladys Aylward from the Christian Heroes : Then and Now Series. All of their stories are truly amazing, uplifting and help me keep a good perspective in my own life. Wonderful post.

Mrs. MK said...

Thank you for this series!

I *discovered* John Piper last year, and his message has changed my life. I am currently listening as he teaches through Romans---amazing stuff!!

Miriam said...

This: "Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a gift. It must be fought for relentlessly."

Oh, I feel that tension of it being pure gift that comes easily as we abide in Him, and yet needing to fight for it. A paradox of sorts, I guess.

Thanks for this series, Andrea... so edifying.