Pain and Joy

By Youval Yanay

“He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” – Psalm 126:6 NKJV

Just before Valerie and I got married, David and Emma Rudolph, our spiritual parents, took us to a meeting. It was in a small fish restaurant on the French side of Lake Leman in Switzerland. They said to Valerie and me, ‘Through your married life, you will go through difficult times. There will be hardships, confusion, pain, and even despair. You will go through darkness, the valley of the shadow of death, dark tunnels. You will come out from the other side; there is no doubt about it, that is for sure. But remember – yes, you will emerge from difficulties and hardships victorious, but your testimony will stay behind you forever. Your testimony during those hard times will last forever. How did you behave? How did you react to the difficulties that came your way? What did you say about God during the hard times? What seeds did you sow while walking through the valley of death?’

We are called to sow seeds of faith, trust, and hope, even when times are hard. We are to honor God amid the difficulty.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:37-39

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Nothing. The love of God is with us even in the most difficult times. Even during this time that Israel is experiencing right now, we can choose to lean on God’s love, we can choose life. Nothing could separate us from the love of God in Yeshua. Not death, not fear, not governments, not rulers. We can choose to lean on the love of God even in hard times, and when we do that, we can be a testimony of light; we can sow seeds of faith, hope, and trust all around us

The way we respond to difficulties and pain stems from our relationship with God. Do I really believe that God exists, that He is good, that He loves me? When I am sure of His love for me, my response to difficulties will always be a response of love for those around me, and thanksgiving and honor to God.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

God allows difficulties to happen because He wants to purify my heart and bring me one step closer to the image of His Son that is being built within me. When God sees that there is something else in my heart, in my relationship with Him, that needs purification, He allows me to go through the valley of the shadow of death. It is not death, but only the shadow of death. Amid difficulty, I examine my heart and choose again and again to lean on His love. The likeness of Jesus is taking form within me.

What a joy! Even in the most difficult times of pain and tears, I know that everything that happens to me happens under God’s care and will. Everything that comes my way has a purpose, and every pain, every tear, will bring me closer to Him, cause a change in me, strengthen me and my faith, and make me a blessing for the people God has brought into my life.

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