Father God, I really struggled to have joy after the affair. Of all the emotions I felt, joy was the furthest thing from my mind most of the time. So when I read your word and saw that I’m supposed to have joy when I face various trials, it made me really confused. How is that possible? How could I be joyful when I’m bawling my eyes out?
But I think I’m starting to make some progress with it now. I’ve been praying to you for comfort and wisdom and peace. I’ve been learning so much about you since the affair. When I look at the person I was before the affair happened and the person I am now, I see a much spiritually stronger person now. I see a person who prays more. I see a person who knows her God better. I see a person who has witnessed your faithfulness in my life. I have witnessed your love. I have felt the love of your true followers.
I have become a more patient and understanding person since the affair. I’m less judgmental. I’m more eager to extend mercy to other people and feel empathy toward them.
Honestly, I feel like I’ve become more like Jesus since the affair. I don’t say that lightly, but the change I’ve felt is so dramatic. I’ve forgiven someone who wronged me and asked my forgiveness. I’ve forgiven someone else who wronged me and was never sorry about it. I’ve suffered criticism for doing what I believe is right. I’ve stood up to Pharisaical judgment, voiced and not voiced.
I’ve reached out to hurting people. I’ve offered words of comfort and hope. I’ve spent time with them and empathized with them. Before the affair, I’m afraid I would have identified more with the Pharisees, wondering why people can’t keep themselves out of messed up situations. Judging them for being in those situations. But now, I have changed and I know it’s because of this trial–this horrible affair. You used it to provoke a powerful change in me, God. You helped me know Jesus better, and so I naturally wanted to be more like him.
So I do understand why I should see my trying circumstance with joy. It has made me more Christlike. If it had never happened, I probably wouldn’t have had all my perceptions challenged in the way that they were. I would probably still be quick to judge. Quick to feel righteous and convince others of my righteousness.
It makes me really happy that I can see such spiritual growth in myself. Thank you, God, for growing me. Dare I say it? Yes, thank you, God, even for the horrible affair in my life. You’ve used it for my good. I see that now. I hope I never go back to having the same attitudes and perceptions that I did before my life was impacted by the affair.
Lord, will you continue to grow the joy in my life? I like what you’re doing and I want more of it. Help me to keep seeing you work in me. I want to be so impacted by you that the joy grows every day. I want other hurting people to see my joy and know that it must be from you. I want them to wonder how I can have a smile on my face when I’ve endured betrayal. Please give me opportunities to share with others what you have done in my life. You’ve given me reason to have joy in spite of the injustice that was done to me. I want to share it with others.
Help others who are hurting in their trials to have endurance. Help them to patiently seek you and lean in to you for strength. Help others to see that there is a season for everything in life. Their suffering won’t last forever. Sometimes we’re full of sorrow, but God can turn the sorrow to joy. The sorrow and tears don’t last forever. At the end of the season there is God-given joy.
God, make me a walking testimony of the joy that you give. You have turned my grief into joy because of the things you have taught me. You have turned my grief into joy because of the good Father you have proven to be. Help me to never get over it. I am so grateful.
(Prayer based on James 1:2-3, Ecclesiastes 3:4, Nehemiah 8:10; from the book Prayers of the Betrayed: Pouring Out Your Heart to God when You Have More Tears than Words by Becky Hadaway coming spring 2018)