Trials and Joy
On Saturday, we gathered together as Bethel Women from all three campuses to consider how we can have joy in any circumstance. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4, MSG)
It was a beautiful morning of connecting with each other and getting to meet our pastor's wives, Amada August, Haley Greene and Amanda Phillips. We were encouraged as they shared with us about their authentic pursuit of joy in Jesus during the messy, hard challenges of life.
If you weren't able to join us in person, you can watch the event here: bethel.ch/true-joy
Amanda Phillips' friend, Kerrie, wrote this poem to encourage her during the trial she shared with us about. We hope it blesses you wherever you are today.
by Kerrie Deberry
Is there a hardship you didn't ask for,
Something you wish just wasn't so?
But the God of heaven has chosen
On you a trial to bestow?
We all have felt it at some point
The stretching and the fear.
The anxious heart that pounds
And the unexpected event appear.
We want out, we want relief
We want something to cling to.
We want hope, joy, and cheer
And reprieve from feeling down and blue.
We wrestle and we say "How long?"
Lord, what is it you want from me?
And sometimes we lean in and listen
And feel silence at the end of our plea.
The pain continues,
The future unknown.
We keep pressing on
Even as we feel all alone.
We want to grab the reins
But they keep slipping away.
It takes all we can muster
To get through an entire day.
Ups and downs we feel,
Wandering this meandering stream.
Our hearts are so delicate and weak,
And life feels like a chaotic dream.
But this when we remember
God's mercies every morning are new.
Every sunrise that he gives us
Brings fresh hope more into view.
For though your grief may come
And you may feel a lack of peace.
He will show compassion,
And his grace he will increase.
Today he will give you
The portion that you need.
For he is near the crushed
And the broken-hearted indeed.
When the righteous cry for help
Oh how the Lord hears your cry.
He keeps all of your bones
And his love never grows dry.
With man it is impossible
And your flesh and heart will fail.
But with God lines fall in pleasant places,
The feet of the saints in Christ prevail.
God did not spare his son,
Jesus Christ, who bled and died.
When we believe and rest in Jesus
All our sin and guilt he's mortified.
Our old self crucified with Christ
And alive to God we live set free.
Free to face trials with faith
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Surely he has borne our griefs
Our sorrows he carries in his heart.
He was oppressed and afflicted
He's walked our pain in whole not part.
So though the fig tree shall not blossom
Nor fruit be on the vines,
I will rejoice in my Savior
For his providence draws my lines.
Those who seek the Lord
Lack no good thing in their story.
Because those who trust in Christ
Will receive from him a crown of glory.
And all these light momentary griefs
Are preparing us to draw near,
To that day when we see his face,
And all we feel is peace and cheer.
So what today is burdening you?
A weight you carry around?
Cast your cares upon the Lord,
And trust with him deeper joy is found.
We are grateful for you and our community of Bethel women. If you have a story to share, a prayer request, or are looking for a small group, we'd love to connect further. Please reach out anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org