“The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” – Zephaniah 3:17
I have experienced many times of suffering in my life. At those times I have found myself concerned with the questions, “how can I escape?”, “how can I untangle this suffering?”, and focused on the negative aspects rather than on attempting to understand what can be learned in suffering. For example, when I had lost my hair as a result of chemotherapy, I recall being particularly sad at the idea of wearing a synthetic wig. At the time it did not occur to me to consider that the use of this wig was also an answer to my desire to have a pleasant appearance. The impact of baldness to my appearance was the true source of my discomfort. As I diagnose the condition of my heart I see that I have an imperfect perception of pain. My actual response to suffering is similarly imperfect. With an almost the opposite of my desire to live all aspects of my life to the glory of God, I typically become focused solely on the negative.
During my most recent illness, my heart became unsatisfied because in my suffering I felt spiritually dull, helpless, and crushed. It seemed I could not see God the victorious warrior. Another type of pain also gripped me. Although I desire to praise the grace of the Creator and eagerly love Him, I could not bring myself to act upon my true desire. As soon as I made a decision to use the season of suffering as a tool to learn about endurance in trusting God, an opportunity for personal repentance, and an occasion to cry out in dependence upon the Creator God, I recognized God’s presence in the midst of my struggle.
Now that this suffering season has passed, from time to time my heart beats fast in my chest, fearfully trembling like a bird that has just passed through a storm. I intend to face this new chapter of life holding fast to what I have become convinced of in the past, which is that the victorious Creator God rejoices over His believing children with shouts of joy!
Kim Sooin (Mimi) Hughes
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