Happily Ever After

Our church has been reading through 2 Corinthians and the book of Job in our daily quiet time. Job and Paul had a lot in common… they both suffered a great deal. Job is not my favorite book in the Bible, although I do love how it ends. Everyone loves a “Happily Ever After” story. Both Job’s friends and the people in Corinth had a misconception about suffering. They thought that if you suffered it meant that you were being punished by God for some evil that you had done. Job must have been a really bad person to have lost everything. Paul must not have been a true apostle because if he was, his life wouldn’t have been so difficult. At least that’s what their friends thought. Yet the lesson to learn from these two people is not how to avoid trials and trouble, but how to go through them with grace and victory and come out on the other side bringing glory to Christ.

Paul wrote that he was crushed and overwhelmed by the trouble that he was going through that he even thought he was going to die. “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

Paul realized that the purpose of his life was to be a reflection of Christ so that he could point others to Jesus. I want to be like Paul when I grow up. I want my life to reflect the glory of Christ. I want everything in my life, even my troubles and afflictions, to be an opportunity for God’s power to be manifested. Job made a choice to not curse God for the trouble that he went through, but instead, to worship God and trust Him even though he was stripped of everything.

Both of these men should give us hope when we are going through difficult times. No matter how bad it gets, God is able to rescue us. But even more importantly, He is able to sustain us in times of suffering. I am choosing to put my confidence in God… Not in my doctors, not in my own abilities, not in wholistic medicine. My confidence is in the Almighty, All Powerful, living God who raised Christ from the dead. I choose to walk through this time with grace and confidence in Christ. I love the way The Message Bible translated 2 Cor. 4:15 “Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!”

This is my prayer: more grace to walk with my head held high, so that more people will see God’s saving power and that Christ will receive more and more praise! I pray that you will hold your head up high and allow your life to reflect Christ’s grace.

On a lighter note: I was in the grocery store a couple of days ago and two little girls from our church came up to me and said: “I know you. Who are you?” I told them that I was Pastor John’s wife and one of the little girls said: “Where is your hair?” I told her that I didn’t have any and she asked, “How come?” I told her that it all fell out. They both begged me to show them my bald head (I had a scarf on) but my dignity wouldn’t let me defrock my head inside of Albertson’s. They begged and their father quickly escorted them down the next aisle. As I was finishing up my shopping, I heard them skipping through the grocery store singing: Pastor John’s wife doesn’t have any hair….Pastor John’s wife doesn’t have any hair…. (It’s kind of like the emperor with no clothes, everyone knew he didn’t have any on, but only a child was bold enough to say something about it. Maybe the next time I see them I will be bold enough to let them see my bald head. Who knows what they would sing then…)

Definitely made me laugh and brought a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, I do not like having a bald head, and I am very selective about who I let see it. (I guess I still struggle with a little bit of shame and embarrassment from it.) But it felt good to laugh with the girls as they skipped through Albertson’s. In the midst of my suffering, God has brought a smile to my face and has made me laugh. I will have my “Happily ever after” story yet.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Cor 4:16-18

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Comments

  1. I love this post and completely agree with you about putting all of our confidence in the great I AM !
    My trials are just beginning because I have my surgery next Thursday and I know the road will be hard but because my Redeemer lives I know He will guide me the whole way.
    Thank you for this encouraging post
    Sandra Moore

  2. April Little says:

    That’s a beautiful head you have there! 🙂

  3. Tiylor Hill says:

    Hair or no hair you are still beautiful, and may I say WOW!!!! To the courage you have to make a blog, for the whole world to see, about the journey God is taking you through with all this. You may have no hair but the wisdom, courage, faith, and willingness you have to follow what God has told you to do in this time makes up for the lack of hair and is a huge inspiration to me. I can only pray that I could be like you in your time of trouble when troubles hit me.

  4. Priscilla Fitzgerald says:

    I do not know what to say. I’m so impressed by your strength. I know you can do anything through Christ. I love you and your family. Keep the faith. I’m still praying for you. And I love your head. You are beautiful..

  5. Betsy Webb Herold says:

    Thank you! You do not know how much that encouraged me!

  6. Beautiful lady inside and out!

  7. Maria Surratt says:

    I just love you. 🙂

  8. All I can say is wow!!! And how great is our God! This is amazingly inspiriting and I know by the spirit of God living in my heart that God is magnified and glorified in and throughout this! Love you tons and tons!!!

  9. You are a living testimony. I praise The Lord that his grace and strength empowers you daily. You are an inspiration and a great blessing. Haiti and the Threadgills continue to stand along side… Praying strength and health to your spirit, soul, and body. Blessings and love, jay & Linda

  10. Susan Conatser says:

    I love your words LaNell. Keep writing.
    “I do not understand the mystery of grace.Only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamont

  11. Teresa DeLoney says:

    My word of the day has been Perception and you my dear are a great example of how we should use that word! I smiled so big when I saw your pic because I knew your view from the heart shines through! Blessings to you, beautiful LaNell!

  12. Bethany Miller says:

    Wow! This post was incredible! Very inspiring 🙂 you really are my role model! I love you so much! Too bad I wasn’t there to hear the girls’ song!

  13. Wendy Ielaidnis McKinney says:

    Honey, you are such a beautiful spirit inside and out, with or without hair!!!! Love to you all!!!! Hug my cousin and tell him to slow down please for me!!!! You’re all in our prayers!!!! What a perfect story here. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Judy Vestal says:

    I’ve been following your journey and marveling at the beauty of God’s work in your life. You might as well go ahead and bare your head….you bare your soul so beautifully. Love you !!

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