Joy and Pain Working Together

Just the other day...I traveled home from "The Cove" in Asheville, NC. I was privileged to experience a few amazing, quiet days there at our women's retreat. Quiet rarely describes my life. It was wonderful to have a few days to myself!

Our speaker for part of the weekend was Rebekah Lyons, author of "Freefall to Fly". What a gracious, beautiful, transparent story she tells! I found myself identifying with her so much. God has brought me down similar paths to teach me some of the same faith lessons.

One question Rebekah asked during the weekend has really stuck with me, and here it is - -

"How have both pain and joy impacted your life?"

The answer in my mind was immediate. I instantly had a picture pop in my head. It looked something like this...

It fits with my life and what the Lord has been teaching me in this season - -  that both joy and pain can coexist, just like the two rails on a railroad track, working together. In the hands of God, both are used to sculpt, shape, and bless...yes, bless...our lives.

Not all pain feels like a blessing, for sure...especially in the moment it strikes. The trials we go through can be what the enemy meant for evil. But God? He just keeps on changing those bad situations around, causing triumph, blessing, joy, wholeness, and spiritual growth beyond measure.

What does it look like to have joy and pain simultaneously working together? Well, it seems that at the same time I'm witnessing the metamorphosis of one problem into something of beauty, the revolving door is bringing about a new issue to tackle, a new crisis to confront. Yet, I'm learning something rich and deep in the process...

No matter what comes my way, God is my rock.

He is the sure foundation that stands through it all. He is the anchor that holds, though the ship is weary and worn. He's the answer, though the questions linger. He's the miracle, though the disease rages on. He's the light at the end, though the tunnel ahead appears long and dark.

If this railroad of life, this one bringing both joy and pain, has a closer walk with my Lord as its destination, so be it. I'll take it.

Because, let's be honest, understanding Him intimately and fully seems to require joining with Him in the fellowship of His suffering. That's a hard pill to swallow, but let me tell you...I've never known Jesus on the mountaintop like I've known Him in those moments when it felt like my world was falling apart.

Head-knowledge becomes heart-knowledge in moments like that. It's as if you come face-to-face with your own desperation...and if He doesn't rescue, to whom will you turn? I can't say that in those times God always answers as quickly as I want Him to. Sometimes He purposefully seems to delay so that I can learn a greater lesson, but I can say this, He always answers! He always comes through. Always.

And thinking about those times my Lord has sat with me in my pain until I was ready to move on...that wrecks me...in the very best way possible! When I am ready, He picks me up, dusts me off, and whispers, "I've got you, baby girl! Keep going." Such moments bring tears of joy that fall like rain, as well as renewed courage to face what's next. In Him, I can keep going.

And so the railroad track continues.

Is the journey easy?


Is it worth it?

A thousand times, yes!!!


"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us."

Romans 5: 3 - 5


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For His glory,