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Joy in the presence of God

This was from an email from Dr. Melissa Cheeks, our regional representative. She wanted to share some words from a pastor that spoke at a CVM couple’s wedding.


“Joy is not the absence of adversity,
but the presence of God.”

It’s not an uncommon phrase, so it’s probably one that you’ve heard in some form or another, before. I’m not sure why it especially struck me when it was shared with me the other day, but I love the reminder. In some Christian circles or churches I’ve visited, it seems that people ignore the fact that yes, even Christians face adversity. They focus too much on the “joy” part sometimes, and make parishioners feel guilty if they don’t experience love, joy, and peace at all times.

They focus too much on the “joy”

Conversely, some of the most beautiful stories of faith I’ve heard have been people that have pressed into God in times of challenge, and times of trial. I have friends struggling with illness, with loss of one form or another, with depression, with loneliness… and their faith has inspired my own. It’s easy to praise God when we are feeling joyful. Praising God in the midst of adversity is much harder. I’ve discovered over the years that joy IS the Lord. Like I talked about last week, love is who God is. Likewise, that’s where our joy comes from. If we know he is everywhere we are, all-knowing and all-seeing… we can rest assured that joy means knowing him. I cannot imagine navigating a life without knowing God, can you?

It’s easy to praise God when we are feeling joyful. Praising God in the midst of adversity is much harder.

This week, let’s all rest in knowing that whether or not we are facing adversity, God is with us, and by that very fact, we can know what joy really is.


Just keep swimming

Hello! My name is Annie, a second year student at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. I will be working with Faith as webmasters for Illinois student chapter of Christian Veterinary Fellowship. We will be working hard to bring interesting entries of all things vet med and Christian faith bi-monthly. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at !  

1 Chronicles 28:20: […] Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work […] is finished.

It’s only been 3 weeks of school, but there are already caffeine-overdosed, sleep-deprived students with weary eyes that fill the classroom with the impending doom (AKA Midterms) slowly approaching. As veterinary students, we never seem to have enough time to study despite our very best effort to stay on task. I’m personally guilty of this as I write this entry that was supposed to be posted a week ago. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed when I look at my to-do list with all the tasks that must be completed before the upcoming week. This vicious cycle of anxiety, panic, and guilt repeats weekly. I can’t help but find myself constantly asking, “How am I going to get all everything done?”

How am I going to get everything done?

In 1 Chronicles 28:20, King David speaks about the task that God had planned for his son, Solomon. He ensures that no matter how arduous of a task it may be, Solomon is guaranteed to find success because God is with him. It’s hard to remember this simple act of faith when we are chasing deadlines and fighting to stay afloat. However, once we realize that we are not alone we don’t have to worry about failures. It’s not by our own strength that we will accomplish what’s laid in front of us, but through the strength of Almighty-Creator-of-Heaven-and-Earth-Majestic-King-of-King God Himself: Yeah, no big deal when you put things in perspective, huh? Instead, we can start focusing on completing each task and use it to testify  God’s grace and love for us.

Guaranteed to find success because God is with him

So when you find yourself under the pile of papers with anatomy structures to memorize, purple and pink microscopic images, and NAVLE booklets — think of the sweet, lovable Blue Tang fish and “just keep swimming”. God will be with you every step (or paddle) of the way.

FINDING DORY - DORY (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) is a bright blue tang with a sunny personality. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which normally doesn’t upset her upbeat attitude—until she realizes she’s forgotten something big: her family. She’s found a new family in Marlin and Nemo, but she’s haunted by the belief that someone out there is looking for her. Dory may have trouble recalling exactly what—or who—she’s searching for, but she won’t give up until she uncovers her past and discovers something else along the way: self-acceptance. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.


– Annie