Return to Joy | Bev DeSalvo

Can You Return to Joy when God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers?

Join me in welcoming Bev DeSalvo, author of Return to Joy: Finding Healing in the Arms of Your Savior, to the blog today. This joy-sister knows suffering and she also knows the healing hand of our Savior. Be encouraged along with me as she reminds us that God is faithful and shares hope for returning to joy even in the midst of suffering.

Can You Return to Joy when God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers?

Guest post by Bev DeSalvo

My world was rocked four years ago when my husband, Gary, was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, a rare eye cancer that has no known cure and typically metastasizes to the liver. After consulting several well-known specialists, he chose to have his right eye removed and went through a clinical trial at a reputable cancer center. We breathed a sigh of relief with each clear liver scan in the following years and our “scanziety” was finally diminished. Friends and family all over the world had been fervently praying for us, so clearly God was answering our prayers for a miraculous healing…or so we thought. My breath was taken away when Gary’s oncologist gave us the news that his latest scan revealed a suspicious spot on his liver.

After an MRI and biopsy, our greatest fear was confirmed. Gary’s cancer had traveled through his blood and metastasized to his liver. Knowing that statistically this meant that he only had a 10% chance of survival in the following year, we wept in each other’s arms. My heart was broken as I wondered how I would be able to survive without the love of my life (who is a bigger than life man). Gary was deeply troubled because he longs to care for his family, minister to his flock and be with us in the good and bad times to come. We’d spent our lives sharing the joy of the Lord with countless people all over the world. But with this news, we wondered if we would ever be able to experience that joy again.

In my book, Return to Joy, I state that “The strongest force in the first two years of a child’s life is the desire to experience joy in loving relationships. Finding comfort from a nurturing caregiver in the midst of pain brings restoration to a child’s emotional balance, and the child is able to get down and play as if nothing painful ever happened. Psychologists call this returning to joy.”

After several years of counseling and working through painful memories from my childhood, I had found healing from traumatic physical, emotional and sexual abuse. During that journey, there were times when my pain was so excruciating that I felt like I would die. But as I worked through the baggage from my past, my hardened heart slowly softened as God replaced the lies from the evil one with His truth. And as I drew near to His heart in worship I began to nestle into His embrace and find comfort that I’d never known before…and like a small child who finds comfort from her loving caregiver, I was able to return to joy.

Free printable, pageofjoy.com

Enjoy this week’s free Bible verse printable! To save/print simple click on the image above and a .PDF file will begin to download. If you do not see the file please check your internet connection as well as your downloads folder. Copyright 2017 Page of Joy.

But that was healing from past hurts, what about my present situation? Had God’s character changed overnight? Was He still the loving Father that I’d finally learned to trust?

After the initial shock of Gary’s metastasis, I considered my fear and asked myself a hard question:

What attribute of God am I doubting?

Was I doubting that God was sovereign and that this incident happened without His knowledge? Or was I fearful because I didn’t think He was big enough to carry us through whatever the future might hold?

In desperation, I fell on my face before the Holy One and thought about how He had been faithful to me in the past. I remembered that He was with me and would never abandon me and slowly my fears were relieved. And miraculously, I found comfort in my heavenly Father’s embrace and was able to return to joy… even though He didn’t answer my prayer for my husband’s healing.

“But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great!’ (Psalm 40:16)

Like the Psalmist, when we seek the Holy One in worship our hearts are strengthened as we use our spiritual eyes to see the Lord in all His power and holiness. And when we’re in this place of refuge our joy doesn’t depend on whether God answers our prayers the way we want Him to.

In God’s glorious presence our joy is based on who our heavenly Father is.

So when, not if, your prayers aren’t answered the way you desire, will you choose to doubt God’s attributes and become fearful and downhearted…or will you go into His presence and worship Him? You will find divine comfort in His embrace and be able to return to joy, no matter your circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

Bev DeSalvo
Author | Speaker
Helping Women Return to Joy
Bev DeSalvo describes herself as a worshiping woman who has been on an amazing spiritual journey. Raised in an abusive home that created a deep fear of intimacy, God has used her pain as a magnet to draw her to His heart. Now she takes this message of hope to hurting women all over the world and has a book, Return to Joy, that was released in July, 2016 by NavPress. Find out more at http://bevdesalvo.com/. 

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17 thoughts on “Return to Joy | Bev DeSalvo

  1. Thanks for reminding me that is is ALL ABOUT HIM and Who HE IS, no matter what the circumstances are, I will praise HIM because HE is……..everything!

  2. My “no” answer from God was for a lifting of fertility problems. While I had easily conceived 2 children, when we began for child #3 (of the 5 we had hoped to have), my womb was suddenly and mysteriously closed. Though and I prayed and prayed (for 17 long years), the answer remained “no.” I couldn’t understand, and I began to doubt God’s goodness. Of course, by doubting his goodness, I had little joy.

    Finally, after 17 years, I surrendered, and God gave me peace about the “no” answer. My circumstances never changed—I still have only 2 children and am now past child-bearing years—but by trusting in God’s goodness and His plan, I was returned to joy.

    It’s not always easy to trust in the midst of heartache, but that is exactly what we must do. I’ve come to realize that how we respond to the “no’s” God gives us is indicative of the faith we have in him.

    Blessings,
    Patti

    • You are so right, Patti. Our joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances. It is centered in who God truly is to us.

      I’m so sorry for your pain. On the day we found out that the spot on Gary’s liver was cancer I asked God why I had to lose someone else that I loved dearly. I heard in my spirit, “You will know Me in a far deeper way because of this.”
      And so I trust Him no matter what happens.

  3. Beautiful words from a dear precious friend who I know lives these words out in her life! Your faith in God’s unfailing love has been a beacon of life to me! I love you Bevie!

  4. Bev-
    Your post is timely. My husband has just asked me for a divorce last week. My heart is completely broken.
    Your comment about the pain from childhood trauma and just wanting to die while working through it reminded me of his current experience. His heart is so hard toward me, but not God. Do you know of a similar resource for men? We process things so differently as women.

    • I’m so sorry about your pain. Rejection and loss cause some of the deepest of all pain.
      I wrote Return to Joy for women but many of the girls going through my pilot study shared it with their husbands. I was astounded by the responses from the men. Pain is pain, no matter whether we are male or female…and God is the answer.
      I’m praying for you and your husband. ❤️

    • I’m so sorry about what you are going through. Rejection and loss cause some of the deepest of all pain.
      I wrote Return to Joy for women but many of the girls going through my pilot study shared it with their husbands. I was astounded by the responses from the men. Pain is pain, no matter whether we are male or female…and God is the answer.
      I’m praying for you and your husband. ❤️

    • I’m so sorry about what you are going through. Rejection and loss cause some of the deepest of all pain.
      I wrote Return to Joy for women but many of the girls going through my pilot study shared it with their husbands. I was astounded by the responses from the men. Pain is pain, no matter whether we are male or female…and God is the answer.
      I’m praying for you and your husband. ❤️

    • Praying for peace God’s peace that passes all understanding to fill your heart and mind, Robyn. May God fill you with wisdom, healing and hope during this painful trial.

  5. Thank you so very much for these card images. I am a card maker, and I have made some cards for my friends with your images. I save the image to a word document and then I can move them around to any size. I have made A2 sized cards to 6×6. I enjoy reading your emails to me and thank you so much for sharing your faith.

  6. Thanks Stephanie,
    God is good ALL the time, even if we, in our human-ness, don’t always see it! Thank you for the cards. I make greeting cards for shut-ins and elderly , and use these on the inside left, across from the sentiment, as a reminder that God is with them! I was stamping Bible verses, but these are so much prettier!

    • Thank you for sharing how you use these cards, Brenda! I’m so grateful for joy-spreaders like you!