I went to a women’s retreat once. Actually, it was the first I had ever been to. I didn’t know much about the warfare that I’d signed up for when I said “Yes” to Jesus, but there were, already, opposing forces in position. They greeted me in the lobby of the hotel on the first night I arrived.
As I sat with a group of ladies from my church, a man suddenly appeared out of what seemed like nowhere. And he began to speak to us, at first in jumbled sentences, but then with more clarity and boldness, until he was blaspheming God and maligning us for our faith in Him. It all happened so quickly we didn’t have the time to formulate a response.
But the most amazing thing happened. I opened my mouth, and out came a song! And as I began to sing, the other women opened their mouths and began to sing, too. It sounded like a Heavenly choir rose up and filled the whole lobby. I am not much of a singer – although I love to sing – but somehow our voices all harmonized together and power resounded in the unity of our song. And that man was silenced.
Not only was he silenced, but he began to literally shrink back in horror, until he disappeared as mysteriously as he had shown up. And we all sat in joyful amazement. Needless to say, we had nothing but great anticipation for the rest of the weekend! Of course, God was faithful to both meet and exceed those anticipations, as He always is.
That encounter taught me something very valuable. Something I don’t always remember at the onset of a trial or difficulty, but which always finds its way to the surface, eventually. The lesson, the jewel in the crown of endurance which I have gained, is this: we are not called to simply endure, or to choose God’s will with a sense of resignation. Rather, we are invited to rejoice in it. When endurance breaks through into song, we discover the treasure God has hidden within our pain and suffering.
It is true that we will meet with many evils along our path to Heaven. This world is full of pain-provoking tragedies, many of which will befall us. Hardship is unavoidable. In fact, Scripture tells us that being part of God’s Kingdom is a reality we will only taste and truly know through suffering (Acts 14:22).
In truth, suffering is a part of all life on this planet. But suffering with and for Jesus carries a purpose that suffering without Him does not. With Christ, our suffering is never in vain. It always produces something valuable. Therefore, we ought not to fear it, nor seek to avoid it. Instead, we are invited to rejoice in this wonderful truth.
I realize it is not in our human nature to embrace pain and suffering. God realizes the same. So I am not expecting you to be excited at the onset of your deepest difficulties. I am, however, encouraging you to go deeper into them, with the faith that proclaims God’s goodness, mercy, and unfailing love as you go. I am challenging you to do more than merely endure. I am rooting for you to find the song within your trials and to sing it out, as loud as you can, for all the world to hear.
Because in this, God is glorified, our enemy is routed, and our souls are strengthened in hope and faith. The wellsprings of joy are released, and we become more sure than we were before that, no matter what may befall us, God is orchestrating it all for our good and His glory.
Because He is Who He has said He is, and He always does what He says He will do. And He has promised to deliver us from every evil, to heal all of our wounds, and to be with us always, even to the very end.
This is a song worth singing. If you can’t sing it from a place of believing it just yet, then sing it from a place of hope. Sing it as the echo of His Words to you, and wait patiently to see the truth of the song unfold over you, like the banner of His great love.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. He has already put the song in your heart. It is as simple and childlike as “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Often, my songs begin with this. And it’s enough to grant me the confidence I need to face whatever is before me.
“Amid a multitude of trials, souls who love God will discover reasons for boundless, leaping joy.” We don’t have to look far to find those reasons. They are scattered throughout His Word, and as we declare the truths written there, He will put music to them, that we may sing a joyful song. I read recently that “the most magnificent psalms arose from the most profound agonies of the soul.” How like God to take a tragic thing and hide within it a well, from which we may draw the deepest joy!
We must never forget that the Door of Hope is found in the Valley of Weeping (Hosea 2:15). So may you travel through your valley today with great anticipation, intent on singing the song which God has placed in the soil of your heart. And as you do, may you see the landscape before you truly transformed. This is His promise to you and me, Beloved women of breakthrough!