Friday, May 30, 2014

Joy From Anguish

Almost two years ago, I went through labor with my daughter Whitney and her husband Kevin. Whitney chose NO pain meds, NO epidural . . . completely natural. It was probably one of the most intense situations I have ever been in. To see my baby girl in so much pain was heart wrenching. She was experiencing back labor, so Kevin and I took turns putting pressure on her lower back. I would look at Kevin when her back was to me, trying to hold back the tears. Kevin would look at me when her back was to him, also trying to stay tough. She was stuck at about 6 or 7 cm dilated, and the doctor said she would have to have a C-Section . . . Colton was too big for a vaginal delivery. Whit didn't want to give up, so she insisted on sticking it out as long as Colt was doing ok. We talked her into some pain meds and then eventually into an epidural. The C-Section was inevitable as she stayed at 7cm dilated with no progress. The next time I saw my baby girl was holding her very large son! All the pain, all the waiting didn't matter anymore. There was joy, and love, and celebration. This is a perfect example of life as a Christian. We will suffer on this earth. Everyone does. But all the suffering will be replaced with joy and light and love when we finally arrive at our heavenly home! Look at every bit of anguish you suffer today as climbing the mountain of holiness to the Arms of Jesus Christ! He is worth it!

In todays Gospel (John 16:20-23), Jesus gives the example of how quickly joy is derived from anguish:

Jesus said to his disciples:  “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” 

In Volume Four, God the Father provides the comfort we need in tough times:

"Remain with Me, your heavenly Father, who seeks to direct all that has an impact on you. I will bring every event in your life and turn it into something that benefits your soul and gives you eternal satisfaction and joy. But not all in my life is good, you are thinking. I know that, My child. That is why you need Me. I can turn the pain, the anguish, the mistakes and grief, into strength, wisdom, patience, and joy. Truly, if you are detached from the world and from worldly things, you can experience a foretaste of heaven on earth and then you will have less desire for earthly things. You will have a clearer, more defined focus. You will have less difficulty with the idea of leaving the earth and making the journey to your home in heaven. Believe Me when I tell you that everything I say, all that I share with you, I share with you for your own benefit. I am your Father and a Father sees to the needs of His children. Use Me, children, to calm your spirit and direct your path. It is for this reason that I come to you now."

Lay apostles, suffering is no fun. I don't voluntarily ask for it . . . but I have learned to take what ever it is . . . pain, frustration, hurt . . . and offer it to Him to use as He pleases. When I do this, it makes whatever is going on less intense . . . every time. So give it a try today. Whatever is bothering you, causing you pain . . . accept it as your cross for today. Ask Jesus to use if for good . . . the graces will shower down, my friends!

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to find joy in anguish when I could very easily go the other way! Continue to provide the graces I need when I feel beaten down!

God bless, 

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