Sunday, January 13, 2013

.I Will Rejoice.

As a college student,  a quality eight hours of sleep is not something that comes around often, but as I drug myself off the couch this morning at 4:57 a.m., I realized that today was not about me. Over a year ago my girlfriend's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been battling it ever since (hopefully defeating it). This morning as she went in for reconstruction surgery, I saw something I had never imaged. As I looked around at the multitude of families that had been affected by cancer, the expressions on their faces weren't filled with grief and despair but rather hope and joy of an end, a cure! As my girlfriend came walking back, after visiting her mother, I realized that she happened to be wearing my basketball sweatshirt from high school. On it was a verse from Philippians, that I feel God has used as the spark for this blog; but, before I continue any further I want to dedicate this post to Dillon Young from Bradenton, Florida whose mother passed away this Christmas break (I ask that you please pray both him and his family). The verse from Philippians that caught my eye is found in chapter 4, verse 4 (4:4) which reads, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice." I feel like the verse was quite timely (considering the area I was in) and the fact that were are just beginning a new year, a fresh start! Now, as I was looking through internet news articles, a group of baseball players from Easton Area High School in Easton, PA grabbed my attention as athletes, whom were willing to be used by God for extraordinary purposes by exemplifying this verse from Philippians.

When things aren't going our way, it's so easy just to blame either God or others for why our life isn't moving in a straight path. It seems that when times get tough, a lot of us (including myself) tend to get a pessimistic approach to life and begin to start blocking out advice that others have for us. It's easy to shut down and stop reading our bibles on a consistent basis and ignore what God's word says for our lives in times of trouble; but, I want everyone reading this post, to know that no matter what YOUR situation is, He is always watching over YOU and there is never a second when He is willing to give up on YOU or ignore YOU! I found two verses reflecting God's approach to our lives when we need Him the most. The first can be seen in Isaiah 43:1-3 which says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summed you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the water, I will be with you...For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." The second verse that I found is from the New Testament in Hebrews 13:5, which reads, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." The highlighting statement in both of these verses is that no matter what kind of situation you're in, maybe it was just a complicated day at the office or school, maybe there have been some social problems going on in the household or maybe you life is filled with a something (like the families dealing with cancer) that you imagine could never be uplifted from you. That is where the beauty of God's word comes into play; you see, God CAN'T and WON'T lie because He will always stay true to both His word and His promises! That means only one thing - He will always go through with what He says, no matter what the situation. When I was in Michigan a few summer ago, I remember a quote that I think sticks with God always, it reads, "A a real friend is the one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." I can't picture a greater illustration than this quote because there is no greater loyalty than what God has for us. He will never leave you, He will never forsake you but will stick with you always when everyone else walks out, even through the times when you think life can't look any better!

Now our lives begin to take a 180° turn, when we substitute our pessimistic approaches to life with ones that are filled with hope and happiness in the Lord. Take these athletes from Easton, PA for example. We don't know what their lives are filled with - maybe everything is going the way they want it to or maybe they're caught up in the same daily struggles that you find yourself in. The point is, rather than letting the bad things in life get to them, they grasped Philippians 4:4 on their chests (metaphorically speaking) and made a difference in their own community. When I read through this article there were a couple quotes that stood out to me beginning with, " Making them smile is a good feeling", "They were so excited, it's cool to see the little kids happy" and "We've made a difference." You see, these boys were able to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to them and we're willing to go out in their individual community and be used by God for extraordinary purposes, THEY MADE A DIFFERENCE! Just like these ordinary high school athletes did, God is able (and wants) to use you for amazing purposes! God wants to use YOU to make an impact, a difference to someone (or a group of people) that truly need it!

My prayer for this post is that you focus on the good things in life that God has blessed you with, regardless of you situation, and allow your joy to transcend upon others, enabling you to make a difference in the life of another!

- Madison Franek