Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rejoice!

Apparently, there is a particular breed of goats who faint when startled.  In A Grand New Day, Jan Silvious writes, "These goats are slightly nasty and not very pretty. They meander about foraging for food until they are startled by life in the goat yard and then they just up and faint! They can’t stand to be startled, so they don’t take time to rejoice. They just faint to get away from reality. They are programmed to avoid dealing with it!"

So the question posed on the Women of Faith blog hop this week is, "do you tend to be more of a leaping lamb or a fainting goat?"  My answer is, both, if I'm going to be completely honest.  I wish I could say that I'm a leaping lamb all of the time, but this is real life, and real life is sometimes hard.  Scratch that.  Real life is hard, period.  And so sometimes, I just want to deny the reality of...well, reality, so I just ignore it for a while, knowing that the situation I wish to avoid, whatever it is, won't go away, but still hoping that if I do nothing, the situation will resolve itself.  *Sigh*  Fainting never works.

What strikes me about this passage is when Ms Silvious says, "they can't stand to be startled, so they don't take time to rejoice."  Think about that--they don't take time to rejoice.  The implication is that even in the midst of something unexpected, something startling, maybe even devastating, there is cause for rejoicing, and we can choose to rejoice.

I'm reminded of the time, several years ago, when my husband was informed that the company he worked for was going to be shutting down the plant where he worked.  His job was going to be gone.  As a single income family, with two little ones, this news was startling, to say the least.  We could have fainted.  We could have been angry, or sad, or felt sorry for ourselves, or made ourselves sick with worry. Instead, we chose to view this unexpected, and unwanted, change in our lives as an opportunity to move on to something even better.  We clung to God's promise that he had great plans for us, and moved forward with confidence that God would provide everything that we needed, even a source of income.  And God did.  Today, I can honestly thank God and rejoice that he startled us that day.

This is life--real life--and things are going to happen, things that are not part of our plan.  But even in the midst of these unexpected interruptions, there is reason to rejoice: God is with us.  As Ms. Silvious notes, "no matter your circumstances, rejoice and rejoice again, because God is the author and finisher of life. He is in the middle of everything you face, no matter what. That’s worth knowing and holding on to."

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3 (NLT)

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