May 26-27, 2018
Joy: Always At Your Fingertips
I am very proud to say today’s devotional was written by my then 23-year-old daughter Nicole Joy. She just married Connor McCoach on April 21st and we had a great time, but I was sad to have her leave our house. She wrote this as a birthday present for me around 5 years ago. We are so proud of her and excited she’s learning how to use her gifts to serve God, her new family, and many others in this exciting next stage of her life. Thankfully though, she navigated this important Stepping Stone in her life, and, hopefully, you can feel this same joy as well.
FIve summers ago, I was really excited about going on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with many of my friends. Being a plan-driven, list-oriented person, (yes, I take after my dad), I made an excel spreadsheet checklist for everything I was going to bring. It listed out in perfect detail the exact pants, shorts, T-shirts, and underwear for specific days and activities … then accessories (because I was a teenager) and everything else.
That’s not even the worst! I color-coded it for where it went in which bag! This might seem extreme but it’s the way my brain works. I had everything from scissors to extra pens for myself and other people. I am the type of person who never asks anyone for anything because I already have one, or even doubles to lend to others. They’re always the ones asking me, which I don’t mind at all. I love to help people.
I wonder if you can predict where this adventure story is going?
Before we left Calvary Church at 3:30 AM, we prayed for everything to be safe and for the journey to play out as God planned. We each had a backpack, a carry-on bag, and suitcase. We also had a large 40-pound duffel filled with clothes we collected for the kids in the Dominican Republic. When we got to the airport in Santo Domingo, I was just soaking up the different smells in the air as we walked to the luggage check to corral our 50+ suitcases and get the exciting show on the road.
After waiting and watching while we were all grabbing our personal and mission supplies, I soon realized mine wasn’t there. We looked around everywhere for it, even on other people’s luggage carts! Long story short, after talking to an attendant, leaving a description, and filing a report, we had to get going on the next leg of our journey. On the hour-long bus ride, I was surprisingly not as stressed as I thought I would be. I remembered a verse we had memorized in church from James 1:2-4 (see below). This is when I realized, that I had an opportunity to practice one of God’s teachings during one of life’s little adversities, just as I had learned from this verse … and it worked. I was shocked at how I was acting, but then I realized how God prepared and helped me think clearly and make a good decision. I was and am so thankful for this.
After that blessing, the story got better; I received my suitcase late the next day. It had been shipped from Philly to Denver, instead of the Dominican Republic.
Today, remember God loves you. He is sovereign, all-powerful, and all knowing. He will bring events or opportunities, what we call trials, into our lives to grow us. Whatever trial you face today, be thankful and rejoice. You will build perseverance and then character. Then you will be unstoppable in your quest for fulfillment, peace and joy. Change your attitude … the lenses you wear as you experience this trial … and you will actually change your stress level and the outcome. Whether you have Godly lenses and thrive during adversity, or you use your me-centered and fearful lenses and crumble under adversity is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, Thank You so much for loving me and growing me … through both good times and “trials”. I want to have the mind of Christ and glorify You in all situations, so others can see You through me. Thanks for letting me be part of Your plan as you minister to others through me. Strengthen me to resist temptation and see Your answer and love. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who endured the Cross for the joy set before Him, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4