Rejoice Always? Really?

Morning Paper by Crissy Pauley (FreeImages.com)

Morning Paper by Crissy Pauley (FreeImages.com)

Have you ever been grateful for something negative that happened to you?  Well, maybe not while it’s happening.

A friend of mine is a classic doting grandmother. Nothing fills her with joy more than a visit from her little grandson, who lives hundreds of miles away. She talks about nothing else before, during and after these visits.  She uses her camera to capture his every smile, frown and messy face.

Four days after one of these visits, we were enjoying a backyard birthday party when she slipped off an uneven stone walkway and fell.  The chips went flying off her plate in one direction, the barbecued brisket and coleslaw in another. Her iced tea drenched her shirt and then the nearby flowerbed. Her awkward fall twisted her leg and broke her ankle was so severely that the surgery required seven screws and a plate.

Filled with joy

All during the time we stayed with her and her husband in the emergency room and throughout her hospital stay she was filled with the joy of her grandson’s recent visit.

She found that her broken ankle gave her one more way to brag about her grandson to every visitor and to the captive audience of the hospital staff. Every nurse and doctor were her prisoner. There was no one that was not entitled to see the pictures of the child and hear her stories about him.

Then she went home in a wheelchair.  She used the wheelchair to steady herself and was soon standing for brief moments.  When she became stronger she graduated to a walker and then to a cane.  Now her body is stronger than ever and even her former breathing difficulties are gone.

This is her testimony: “I am so thankful for that day back then. The Lord put that joy in me so that I could be grateful even for the broken ankle. It’s just given me a new life.”

Rejoice! Take courage!

So take courage! The Lord can use whatever you are going through, wherever you hurt in your body or in your soul, to bring his supernatural joy into any dark place in your life. He will surround you with whatever you need to survive and heal. Captivate those he sends to comfort you with your thankfulness for his blessings. There is no one that is not entitled to hear your stories of God’s favor to you.

As you are left alone to heal, discover the new support devices God provides for your healing.  Use every prop you find to get well. These props may be private devotions, inspirational meditations, an hour before the Blessed Sacrament or a few minutes just praising God for who he is. Progress from whatever prop becomes your wheelchair then graduate to the walker and to the cane at your own pace. Grow strong in the Lord and expect that he is giving you a new life.

When has the Lord used a negative experience to help you grow spiritually?  Can you now rejoice?

(© 2013, revised 2017 Nancy H C Ward)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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