Note: Although Philippians 3 talks about the third joy-stealer – things – I am skipping to Philippians 4 and the last joy-stealer – worry. The joy-stealers that affected me the most in this trial of infertility were circumstances, people, and worry, so that is my purpose in focusing on those three.
In my previous post, Paths Unknown but Not Alone, I mentioned a couple of things that worried me: the unknown, the cost of fertility treatments. Wiersbe said worry is wrong thinking (the mind) and wrong feeling (the heart). Worry is the greatest thief of joy. The answer to worry is the secure mind. Jesus wants us to know that He knows what we are going through. He was acquainted with grief and afflicted, but He had joy, as did Paul.
The journey of infertility can be a cycle of ups and downs. Good news makes us happy and bad news makes us worry. The secure mind has faith in God and the peace of God. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience disappointments. Smiles do not always mean there is joy. Likewise, tears do not always mean there is no joy.
Philippians 4:6-9 tells us how we can have a secure mind through right praying, right thinking, and right living.
Verses 6-7 say, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Wiersbe said being anxious means to be pulled in different directions. Hopes pull us in one direction; fears pull us in the opposite direction. No wonder I felt pulled apart! That’s what worry does to us. Preacher described this verse as “not to be full of cares for anything.” When worry comes, pray about it. Prayer guards the heart and mind to keep worry out.
Verse 8 gives us the tools for right thinking by telling us, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there by any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” If we could see snapshots of our thought life, especially when we stop and see what we are worrying about, what would we be thinking about – is it these things? Our feelings operate all the time; right thinking is harder.
Verse 9 talks about right living. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Paul learned by experience to be content and a victor over circumstances, and we can, too! We don’t like everything that comes into our lives, but if God allowed it, there is a purpose. We can have joy in thinking of what God has done in our lives and where He has brought us. Can we look back and see growth has taken place?
D.L. Moody said, “Happiness is caused by things which happen around me, and circumstances will mar it, but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day, joy flows all through persecution and opposition; it flows right along, for it is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart, a secret spring which the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about it; but the Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.”