When I was in college, my psychology professor started out each class with Psalm 118:24:
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
She was teaching us that while we might not be able to control what happened to us during the day, we did have control over how we handled our situations.
My mom had known her family. Years before, her husband had held a revival at our church. He was highly respected in our denomination. Then, the sad news spread. He had committed suicide. People were stunned. People questioned their own faith. They questioned things he had preached. Had he been honest with them or was everything just talk.
Back then, suicide carried a stigma for the family as well. It still does. I'm sure his wife, a psychologist, dealt with many other issues besides her own grief. As I said, her husband was well-known within our denomination and among church leaders of other denominations as well. I'm sure that made things even more difficult for his wife. While some people would show compassion and love others probably were quick to point fingers.
A few years later, I had the privilege of watching this woman in action. Although life had dealt her a painful blow and left her a young widow, she chose to trust in God for all things. She chose to rejoice in spite of her pain. God was and is bigger!
The enemy tries to convince us that we are victims of our circumstances. No! We are not! As a child of God we are not victims! We are in this world therefore we will experience pain, sorrow and suffering. Some of it is brought on by the enemy but a lot of it is simply because this is where we live. However, unlike so many others, we do not ever walk this path alone. Ever. That is something we must never forget. God will never abandon us. I don't care what it looks like or feels like. Either we believe his Word or we don't. You can't be half-hearted about it and just believe bits and pieces. He is either God or he is not. There is no in-between where God is concerned.And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matt 28:20b (NLT)
We are victors over our circumstances. We really do get to make a choice, you know. That's part of that free-agent thing God gave us. It can be a curse or at least seem like one because it means we (and not someone else) are responsible for our own actions. Our society in America at least does not like personal responsibility. We like to blame everyone else for everything ugly or uncomfortable in our lives. Being a free-agent can also be a blessing. We choose how we respond to our circumstances.
I always knew our response has a direct impact on our physical, emotional and psychological well-being as well as on the spiritual. This has been underscored for me as I've participated in my cancer support group. There are women who have gone through horrible things. They are not ignoring the reality of their situation. They'll tell you the reality of their situation. Yet, they are choosing the way they handle it. They choose to laugh rather than cry all of the time. They choose to focus on their blessings rather than their curses. They choose to rejoice with others even when their news is bad. They choose to understand that each day, no matter how bad, is a gift from God. They choose to give of themselves rather than wallow in self-pity. They choose to encourage others even though they feel discouraged. I've even heard people actually talk about how cancer has changed their lives in some ways for the better. They're less self-centered and more focused on others. They've learned not to take little things for granted. They've learned how to appreciate others.
1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
2Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
3Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
4Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
5I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
6The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
7The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
8It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
10All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
11They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
12They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
13Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
15The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
16The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
17I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
18The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
19Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
20This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
21I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
22The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
27God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
28Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
29O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
I just had to quote this beautiful psalm! As you meet each day, may you choose to rejoice in it and face it in anticipation of walking your path with God.
*8/18/11--This blog is now part of a series entitled Walking With God In The Midst of Cancer