The More Enthusiastic We Are Toward The Lord The More He Sends His Grace
By Michael H. Brown
Are you joyful? Can you find happiness even amid the most trying of circumstances?
About a year ago we visited with a friend whose wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They are in their forties, a bright young couple from a foreign nation with young children. They had everything going for them and then suddenly this had struck, bringing about that tortuous course of surgery, radiation treatments, and chemotherapy.
Their response? Joy. "Oh," said the husband, who is one of the most loving and spiritual people we have ever met. "This has been such a great experience! It has brought us so close to God!"
Instead of morbidity, he was bubbling with enthusiasm.
Can you imagine responding to a cancer crisis like that?
It is the height of faith and it shows that with enthusiasm we can find joy in any situation.
It may take a while. We may have to exercise patience. We may have to pass through even more excruciating suffering.
But when we're enthusiastic, God never fails us.
Was Jesus always joyful? Was He always happy?
Well, He certainly didn't seem full of joy on Calvary, and all of us go through trials during which we can't or don't exhibit overt joy. During this life, we will always have sorrow as a companion.
But if we are enthusiastic toward God, if we have the faith that Christ did, we have that great inner peace (a form of joy) even in the most crucifying of circumstances. When we see life as a trial and suffering as a gift, as an opportunity for advancement, even these become the source of enthusiasm -- in the most daunting situations.
Think of the Blessed Mother. She was devastated during her Son's Crucifixion; how could she not have been? But there's no record of her giving up. There is no record of her collapsing in grief. There is a record of her waiting with the disciples in the Upper Room with unbounded enthusiasm.
And that faith, that enthusiasm, led to the descent of the Holy Spirit.
With prayer and with praise to God we can find gladness in every turn of life. This may sound difficult for those who are grieving, ill, out of work, or depressed, but it stands as a real challenge. In the Old Testament they greeted kings with song and dance and when we do the same -- when we constantly thank God, when we find endless reasons to send Him joy -- He alleviates all sadness.
Viewed the right way, every crisis in our lives is an opportunity and every event has potentials that are both good and evil. It's up to us to spot the good in every crisis. The worst things that occur are opportunities for spiritual advancement.
Mostly, we have to thank the Lord for what we normally take for granted. Meditate on the many things you couldn't do without and thank God for them. Thank God for the people you know, for your spouse, your children. Thank God for granting you life to begin with.
And think of the seemingly insignificant events of the day. Search out the things which have occurred that could have turned out differently. When we realize what we have -- as opposed to what we want -- we develop enthusiasm for God and with this enthusiasm and in proportion comes His grace.
Our friend's wife? She's doing fine. She's through with her treatments and back to life with zest and at last report is looking perfectly normal -- far better than anyone expected. Prayer! Praise! Thanksgiving! God loves those who find joy in every adversity and leads them to see a way out of every problem -- even those that seem to have no exit.
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