If you follow Jesus only because he makes life easy now, it will look to the world as though you really love what they love, and Jesus just happens to provide it for you. But if you suffer with Jesus in the pathway of love because he is your supreme treasure, then it will be apparent to the world that your heart is set on a different fortune than theirs. Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World, p. 71
I’m determined to not waste my surgery – to show others that the joy of the Lord is my strength – no matter what.
The night before my surgery, a friend sends a card inscribed with a verse, “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” I thank Him for his strength and peace, and begin a list of the needs of others on the back of the card. When fear or anxiety threatens my peace, I decide to take out the card and pray for the needs of family and friends.
Friday through Sunday, I pull out that card with the list of needs often – from the anxiety I feel in my first encounter with a pre-op nurse – the one with curly blonde hair who’s grumpy and never smiles to being awakened by a lab tech at 3:00 a.m. to draw blood when relief from pain had just allowed me to fall asleep.
I ask God to help me be gracious – to not become frustrated or impatient with others, but to see them through His eyes – from the nursing student who works weekend nights so she can be home with her children during the day to the PA who doesn’t complete my discharge papers, leaving me stuck at the hospital for hours while he assists with emergency surgery. I pray for the PA and his patient, and God transforms my annoyance into compassion.
I can be a vessel of grace that shows the world that though Jesus doesn’t give me an easy life, the life He gives me is good, and He is still my supreme treasure.
When has the joy of the Lord been your strength – when life was hard, but He gave you the strength to show others that He is still good?