I pray every night before I go to bed. I like to end my day by offering thanks for the gift of another day & taking time to give God the worries & struggles that I have been wrestling with throughout my day. The other night I was praying over my husband & praying about our situation when the Lord laid one of my favorite Biblical stories on my heart. In John 9 there is a story about a blind man who spent his days begging. When Jesus passed by the Pharisees immediately asked Jesus who had sinned in order for this man to be blind-was it his father or his mother? Jesus’ answer was neither but rather “ …this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3). So many times when we go through a troubling situation we cry out in desperation-why me? God why is this happening? I don’t understand? In this story there is no reason why this man was born blind. He didn’t do anything to deserve it, but rather it happened so the work of God could be displayed in his life. And now his story has been immortalized in the Bible showcasing the miracle working power of our God for generation after generation to read about. As Christians the cry of our heart should be that God would use us to display His glory-but are we willing to walk through possible challenging times for that to happen? Or are we more concerned with living a comfortable, safe life? I am not implying in any way that we should ask God for painful situations to occur in our lives. That would be crazy! I am talking about how we respond when the painful situations arise. The Bible says in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything.” This kind of thinking is completely backwards from how most of us think. I know very few people who get excited, when they are going through a hard time, because they are excited for what it will develop within them. Yet, the Bible says to do exactly that! How would we start to change the world around us if we began to embrace the difficult situations that we encounter as something that will not only build character within us, but that will allow God’s glory to manifest in our lives? To pray "not my will God but Yours" & truly mean it? I remember sitting in our doctors office at MD Anderson with him telling us that he was 99% certain that Joel’s test results would not come back clear. He even told us that the tests could come back “lit up like a Christmas tree” with cancer spreading throughout Joel's body. I took that as a challenge. I thought-how can you say that? I know he had his medical reasons-but our God is so much bigger than medical reasons. I know for sure the medical journal doesn’t have the definition for curing blindness as spitting in dirt & rubbing it in someone’s eye. People must have thought Jesus was a lunatic when he grabbed that spit-wad of dirt & started in towards the blind man’s face…..but yet the man regained his vision. It makes no sense & is completely backwards-but that is God & those are His ways. Many of them are completely foreign to us. When Joel’s test results came back clear we saw that as God displaying a miracle in our lives to that doctor & to others watching our situation & how we respond to it.I want to challenge you today on the way that you are viewing your circumstances. From the beginning of our journey we have never understood the why’s. But I know the true cry of our heart is for God to use us & use this situation & this story to bring Him glory. I am not saying we are perfect in it. If I could have chosen the comfortable route I more than likely would have chosen it. But we are here now & it is our choice how we respond-& it is yours as well. In John chapter 11 is the story of Lazarus. Jesus’ disciples came to Him with a message that his friend Lazarus was very ill, on the verge of death. Jesus’ response in verse 4 is “this sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.” Still Lazarus did die. The situation looked dire. It may have even looked like it was over. But here comes Jesus bringing back to life what many thought was dead & gone & God received the glory for it all. There is no situation too complicated for Him. There is nothing too big for Him. Even when you are facing something that looks like it cannot possibly be brought back to life again-God can do just that for you. If the cry of our hearts can turn from a desire for safety & contentment to a willingness for God’s purposes in our life to bring Him glory-there’s no limits to what He can do in us! Instead of sulking & being angry for what has happened to us we expect God to bring things back to life in our lives. We expect Him to restore to us what we have lost. We are moving step by step towards counting this situation as JOY, because of where it will lead us & how His glory will be displayed though us. That is, after all, what it’s really about…right?