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Surprised by God’s Joy

As hot water pierced the open cuts on my legs I let out a boisterous laugh. That’s when I knew, “I’ve been surprised by God’s joy!”

The bombshell breakthrough took place in the shower, where the best breakthroughs tend to occur. I stepped into the tub completely oblivious of the terror to come. On my legs open cuts have been forming and, as I soon learned, they don’t enjoy hot water.
The second I stepped into the porcelain tub the rushing water transformed into a swarm of bees. The fresh cuts up and down my right ankle and foot screamed in the heat. Shocked by the sudden stinging, I yelped in pain, resembling the sound of an accidentally stepped upon dog. Then, resembling something like a Mexican jumping bean, I hopped around the shower for a few seconds uttering phrases such as, “Golly gee!” and “Hot diggidy!”
After some creative maneuvering, I was able to position my right leg on the side of the tub, out of direct line of the shower’s head. The only trouble was that in such an awkward position I could not step or twist, both of which are quite helpful when showering.
In the not so distant past, this circumstance would have likely reduced me to tears or at least frustration. But not this time. Rather than causing me to cry the strange shower scenario catapulted me into a fit of hardy laughter.
The joy of Jesus swooped in to my shower and delivered me on the wings of uproarious comic relief. The delight of Jesus’ presence was enough to fill my heart (and shower) with laughter and joy in spite of the stinging pain. Once my soul was lifted up in laughter the physical pain did not need to be removed in order for true joy to be experienced.

Only Christ has the power to deliver sufferers from any and every pain, both inside and out. At His resurrection, Jesus removed the eternal sting of suffering and defeated the doom of death. He rose to render the sorrow and sadness of pain completely powerless.
Jesus does not assure His followers a pain-free life but, united with His glorious resurrection, they will be most assuredly be surprised by God’s joy.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9

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Let’s Run

“Turn left and head south on Milfair Road”
The navigational system stated its directions clearly but I wasn’t listening. I took an immediate right and headed east instead. I searched for a way to make my wrong into a right but there were no connecting streets and I couldn’t turn around. I was stuck taking the long route.
“Turn right in six miles,” the re-calibrated navigational voice said. The ETA added ten minutes and the total travel distance increased too but I before I had a moment to consider the lost time a vision of hope appeared through the glass of the car’s windshield.   Running on the right side of the road I didn’t’ intend to be taking I happened upon my runner friend chugging along.
My “runner friend” is an elderly gentleman who conducts his exercise on busy streets in town. His gait is stiff and every step labored yet he continues to move ahead. Rain, sleet and snow cannot deter him. He refuses to give up. He keeps running, defeating obstacles both inside and out. In all circumstances, my friend is determined to lace up his sneakers and run.

The wrong turn I made behind the wheel of my car added thirteen minutes and three miles to the total trip but infinitely more hope was added to my spiritual tank.
The vision of the runner pushing through his difficulty and pain inspired me claim the final victory in all circumstances.
And that’s just what I did.
Fueled by Christ’s overcoming Spirit and eternal hope, I claimed the victory over disease and defeat, laced up my sneakers and ran.

Turns out taking the long way was the perfect way for God to get me running again.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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The Final Chapter

For eight years I have been praying, asking God to write the final chapter of my sickness saga. Earnestly, I have asked God to give me His words to pen miraculous, inspiring closing lines to this Lyme story. Kindly, I have requested that He tie up this crazy journey with a beautiful restoration bow to bring Him glory.
Despite praying, begging and pleading with God to write those precious words, that isn’t where He has taken my life’s story. The ink He pours into my pen continues to be that of pain. Every time He opens a new page it reveals another scene of suffering.
I must be honest, while waiting for healing I’ve become weary. When my tired hand have become too heavy I’ve struggled to pick up my pen and questioned if God has a happy ending planned for me at all. As I’ve been witness to the healing testimonies of others I’ve even asked God, “When will I get my own healing story to share?”
And the sweet, gentle Spirit of my Heavenly Father keeps responding, “Dear Daughter, I’ve already written your story. Don’t you see it? The healing is in your heart.”

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” Acts 3:16

For eight years God has faithfully been penning His healing story in my heart. As often as I surrender my life before His cross and my hand before His blank page, He breathes words of restoration into my empty pen and pours out a story of His glory to tell.
By the blood of God’s Son, Heaven’s perfect Lamb, my heart has been healed. The miraculous, life-changing, transformative power of Jesus Christ has healed me and now I am new.
That is always the very best healing story.

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Goats Gone Astray

If you ever needed assurance that the lost can be found look no further than these two goats.

goat turnpike

The dramatic and rather peculiar saga began when a farmer’s goats went missing. Escape goats on a farm are not unusual but it was where this pair escaped to that baffled the farmer.

Suspended 150 feet up in the air on the side of a Pennsylvania turnpike interstate highway bridge, a patrol officer spotted two stranded goats. Their hooves were balancing on an 8 foot wide steel beam while a river rushed below. The daring pair of barnyard animals didn’t appear to be all that alarmed by their circumstances. They appeared unaware of the deadly consequences of their highway adventure.

Imagine the farmer’s alarm when he received the telephone call from the state police. They had found his lost goats and rescue team was already on the scene to deliver them to safety.

Two hours and one crane later, both little goats were successfully off of the bridge and back on the farm. The rescue made national news headlines. The ending was a happy one. The goats made it back home safe and sound.

Little goats need not fear that they are ever too lost to be found for our Heavenly Father sees every single child who has wandered far from home. Although we all have behaved like goats and gone astray, not one is outside of God’s power to reach and rescue. He came to save us all.

God deployed His eternal Rescuer, His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver every lost goat on His wings of infinite love and grace. Found at His Cross and redeemed with His new life lost goats are rescued and returned home safe and sound.

By the power of His amazing grace and mighty hand of deliverance, God’s precious goats are saved everyday. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the goats on the road.

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Just Stay Still

“Just stay still.”

This should have been easy instruction to follow if it hadn’t been for the assaulting banging and pounding of the MRI machine. The technician’s voice was gentle and reassuring but I knew the noisy reality that was soon to come. Being still only sounded simple until the machine turned on.
After tucking me in under a blanket and fitting my ears with gigantic headphones, the technician pushed the patient table into the scanner’s tube as I mentally prepared myself to “just stay still.” I tried to move myself into a comfortable but it was an impossible task. The machine left little room for repositioning and the technician left little time. Before I knew it I could hear his voice speaking in the headphones. “Ready?” he asked. I confirmed that I was as ready as I’d ever be. “Just stay still,” he said.
I held my breath as the machine began thumping. The sound was low and steady at first, as if a drum were beating off in the distance, but within moments the thumping turned to banging. First the racket seemed to be coming from the left, then the right. Then the whole machine shook violently before it stopped.
This cycle repeated as hundreds of snapshots were taken of my abdomen and pelvis. With each scan the banging and pounding was startling and remaining motionless was a challenge. I desperately wanted to stay still, knowing that the results of the scan dependend on it, but my body’s natural reaction was to flinch at every assaulting sound.
The test was only halfway completed and my ears were already ringing. Staying still was exhuasting and I was getting weary when all of a sudden I heard a faint click in my headphones followed by a familiar voice.
“Doing alright?” the technician asked. His voice was sweet and serene, a welcomed interruption from the constant banging. “Just stay still,” he reminded me one more time.
A moment later the scans resumed. They were as loud and disruptive as ever but something was different about the sound. Inside, I had peace. The assaulting banging no longer troubled me. For the next thirty minutes the pounding continued and I didn’t even flinch. It were as if God’s voice were all around me saying, “Just stay still.”
Consumed with God’s presence, every disconcerting sound of the magnetic scanner faded away. God’s hand was keeping me steady and being still became effortless and easy. In every pounding I could feel His steadying power. Even while under the seige of the machine, I experienced rest. With His Holy Spirit, every sound echoced harmonies of His serenity and peace.

Forty-five minutes later the test ended and I exited the examination room free from the assaulting sounds of the machine but in my ear I can still hear a gentle voice speaking peace into my heart. From the voice of my beloved Savior I’m still hearing Him say, “Just stay still.”