Enjoy the Ride
The middle is often an uncomfortable place to be. Between the pages of a favorite mystery we hope we guessed correctly, waiting to see if we have followed the clues correctly. Going through a do-to list, waiting for news of a loved one’s health, and most processes involve a beginning, a middle, and an end. Waiting spans the gulf between beginning and end, an archway of questions, hopes, and even fears. We look forward to resolutions and answers every day, great or small, but during those in-between times, how can we find joy?
The apostle Paul, under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, tells us to be 1“careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6) If anyone had the “right” to worry about outcomes, Paul is the one! Surely, shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, and facing death itself would justify a few moments of anxiety?
Yet God commands us to rejoice and trust in Him—in the beginning, middle and end. While your child awaits acceptance from a university, while you wait for results from a blood-test, and while you help a parent or friend face a difficult diagnosis, God is there in the middle. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him, and as we feast daily on His Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He prepares our hearts for whatever lies ahead.
Paul knew the ups and downs of working with people, too. The problem people and the ones who respond stand alike in God’s sight. We cannot make others do what is right, but we can be faithful in telling them the truth in love. Even telling ourselves the truth can be hard—whether it’s a nagging past sin or facing temptation, the Word is true, not our feelings. Baggage strangles thanksgiving!
Rejoicing and trust provide joy during an uncomfortable middle. Another way to experience God’s joy is singing hymns and gospel songs; go ahead, find a hymnbook and sing your favorites out loud! When we have no words of our own, we find encouragement through the words of fellow believers who face the same struggles we do. Past or present, we all have issues and hymns remind us who God is and who we are in Him.
Too often we relegate Thanksgiving songs to one time of year! Read the words of “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” and “We Gather Together,” and reflect upon their meaning. “We Gather Together” was written in 1597, a time of great strife and warfare in the Netherlands. The believers sang this after God’s deliverance during battles against the Spanish, the plague, and famine. Temptations to worry abounded, yet still they sang, 2“So from the beginning the fight we were winning / Thou, Lord, wast at our side / All glory be Thine.”
Every day we must embrace that God’s will for our lives is a journey, not a destination. As writer F.B. Myers said, “So, through life, death, through sorrow, and through sinning, He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed.” Elizabeth Elliot, wife of trailblazing missionary Jim Elliot, reflected upon this very theme in her book Twelve Baskets of Crumbs: 3“We give thanks, then, as we bring these things to Him (Christ), and in the giving of thanks we signal our total acceptance of His will for us.”
Rachel Ann Rogish is a freelance writer, excited to give back to quality home education and promoting a creative-ministry life-style. When she is isn’t writing, you can find her learning the domestic arts, reading a good book, exploring nature, and reporting for the Cape May County Herald Newspaper.
1 The Holy Bible, King James Version®, © 2008 by Holman Bible Publishers.
2 Baker, Theodore. We Gather Together. Traditional Netherlands Folk Hymn.
3 Elliot, Elizabeth. Twelve Baskets of Crumbs. Nashville: Pillar Books for Abington , 1976.