Behind the Smile

Dear World Changer,

You know, it’s funny how God works, His timing and all. Currently I’m finishing up my last year of bible college – AKA graduation is WEEKS away 😀 That aside, this week I was working on a paper for my Pauline Literature class and sure enough, God had something deeper than just an assignment for my grad check list. The focus of the readings and paper was on 2 Corinthians when Paul writes of a “Thorn in his flesh”. If you haven’t read Paul’s letters, well you should. They are Real. Raw. Emotion-filled and Spirit-gripping.

On the night when I tried to finish the assignment my stomach began to act up more than it had in a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve battled with stomach issues for over 7 years now. There have been seasons of greater health and great endurance, but on the flip side, many seasons of heart-felt, tear-filled pleas of grace – when the agony is too much to bear… with some season to the point that if I gave in to all the pain I would experience, I would’ve never left my house. Those moments, of complete downright frustration have surely given me a greater perspective on “you never know what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life”. I mean, anyone can put on a pretty smile or fake enthusiasm for the task at hand – can they not?

It’s the happening behind the scenes, the moments when the pain is too much to bear or fathom, these ones that most of us don’t see. The tears of hurt, the tears of pain, the tears for relief in whatever situation one faces. This week Paul reminded me of this. He may have had that “thorn,” yet he persevered and his life spoke of it. Paul may have faced hardship and yet, he learned the extent of God’s grace, the need and power of prayer, the depths of God’s love for him. Perhaps none of those would have been a reality had he given in. If he had thrown the towel in and gave up on His faith in the one who created Him.

I’m glad he didn’t.

In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” – words I too wish to say someday. Did I fight and persevere despite my circumstances? Did I keep my faith and trust IN him even when I didn’t feel like it? Will people say that I finished the race (my life) well when the day comes that I enter eternity with Christ? I hope so. I hope it’s a yes, yes, and yes.

Whatever you face today, know that everybody has a behind the scenes. But also know that everybody has a choice. A choice to trust. A choice to persevere. A choice to choose peace over fear. Wherever you stand today, be reminded that even Paul, a man who impacted the lives of SO many, he too faced hardship. It doesn’t always make sense, but the “sense” is not for us to understand. It’s the opportunity to grasp, like Paul, the extent of God’s grace, the need and power of prayer, and the depths of God’s love for us.

Stand tall my friend. God cares about your every “behind the scenes” struggle.

JENNIFER

XOXO

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