Today my heart is heavy for those whose marriages are in a really difficult place. You may have just discovered your spouse has been unfaithful to you. You may be walking with them through a chronic or terminal illness. You may be dealing with a financial crisis you never imagined would come your way. Whatever it is you’re facing, you are saddened by it all, and you may be tempted to hopelessness.
It’s impossible for me to say “I know what you’re going through.” I don’t! And even if I’ve faced the same trouble, it’s never the same. My encouragement to you comes in the form of a quote. When I read it on my daughter’s Facebook page, I was immediately challenged by the godly perspective. My hope is that you will be too.
“The difference between shallow happiness and a deep sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope–and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.” Walter Wangrin, Reliving the Passion.
Did you catch that? Joy rises from the sorrow! I love that. I’ve often said that in all our suffering God has placed hidden joy for us to discover. Those who ask Him will find it. Those who cower under the pain miss it.
How I wish I could take your hand and look in your eyes and remind you of the faithfulness of your God. He can’t be unfaithful to you, for it would be outside of His character to do so. Friends can disappoint us, a spouse can hurt us deeply, but God will never leave you no matter how difficult the pain. He will carry you. He will sustain you. And yes, He will cause joy to rise from your pain.
Father, I pray for all who will read this post today. Will You help them in their pain? I ask that they will sense Your nearness to them right now. Whatever it is they are facing today in their marriage, will You give them faith and hope to face it, to endure it? I ask, in Jesus’ name, that You comfort them with the comfort only You can provide. Where there seems to be no way will You show them differently? I know that You are a great God. You are near to those who are broken-hearted, and You save those who are crushed in Spirit. May they sense Your help and hope as they read this prayer. It’s in Your Name and for Your glory that we ask these things.
In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!
Thanks Debi for the great post, i love the quote and i love the prayer. Transformation from suffering up until it becomes joy is a winding and difficult journey-that is from my experience of over 9 years now. I once prayed to God for endurance, may be i should have asked for joy. I realise that many people like me try the two steps and then begin to give up because you dont seem to see any change. This is because suffering sometimes lasts longer! When you are in it, it doesnt seem to end. In that way you dont attain the character and the joy. What i have learnt is that no matter how long and whatever the circumstances, God will sustain us. On our own, we cannot manage, but when we ask God, he provides the necessary grace. As for me, iam asking God for joy right now, i need it dear lord! Abba Father fill me with with your joy, Amen
Your comment is full of faith and trust in God for an unknown future. Thank you for your godly example – it’s inspiring!
Great post, Debi. You are so right in saying no matter what you’ve personally experienced, it will always be so different than another person going through the exact same thing. But we can do is pray for them and that is a beautiful thing. I also love that the quote specified “shallow happiness” because true and genuine happiness is not based on external circumstances but comes solely from within. The moment we look for happiness externally is the very moment it has no chance of showing up.
I love hearing from you! I think this post is greatly needed because our “happiness” always looks better to others when they don’t know the trouble we’re facing. We know its a deep-seated joy that isn’t dependent on externals like you said.
Thanks for adding these excellent thoughts.
What a great quote! Thanks for the encouragement.
Always happy to encourage others!