Good evening everyone!
…For this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. Nehemiah 8:10
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. Romans 5:3
[The Lord God says] And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing to Zion; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11
I hope your day is going well. Today has been a difficult day for my family, and I lost one of the most beautiful people I know. My cousin Timika is truly an angel and God saw fit to end her suffering today. I am going to talk about Joy.
Ironically, I have been rereading the Purpose Driven Life, and the devotion from one of the days I read as I was catching up talked about temptation. God allows us to be tempted to teach us the fruits of the spirit–Galatians 5:22-23–which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Something stuck out in Rick Warren’s words…God often allows us to experience sorrow to seek joy. Joy and sorrow, quite frankly, don’t go together to me. But low and behold today, I experienced them both at the same time. I have sorrow and sadness at my cousin’s passing but I have joy for so many reasons. Number one and most importantly, she is no longer suffering and has gone home to wait for my Lord. What a wonderful privilege that is! Some of us are forced to endure earthly struggles and hardships throughout our entire lives and at the day of Jesus’ coming, all of that will end! Doesn’t that make you feel great! I know it makes me happy. Two, it taught me this very lesson: I can rejoice because I know (and she knows :D) the goodness of God! All sufferings do eventually end and there is exultation and happiness at the end! That is blessing enough for my heart! Whenever we experience any bad thing, it always has a point of stretching our faith and growing us in one of these areas if we welcome it. We must be on guard because the devil seeks to keep us at the opposite end of the spectrum and wallowing in self-pity or regret. Take me for example–haha–as many people know, I get my ends trimmed regularly but with an air of precaution: sometimes I get butchered. And these “trimmings” always serve to make me depressed. Rather than dwell on an inanimate thing like my hair that will grow back, I will rejoice at me not losing more hair and at the fact that it does grow fast. Of course, sometimes we allow ourselves to slip back and complain or make tough situations seem like a personal attack from God, but remember in His word that He always tells us how much He loves us! (John 3:16) So be joyful and guard it! Because the devil seeks to make you suffer and miserable all your life and for all eternity…a very long time.
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33