Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Have you ever been prepared beforehand for a tragedy in such a way that you could see the hand of God working behind it for your good? Before His crucifixion, Jesus had a long discourse with his disciples, as we read in John’s Gospel, chapters 13-17. The Lord was revealing to them, all that was just going to unfold before their bewildered eyes, and preparing them so that their hearts and minds would not be troubled.
Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16: 20, 22, 24) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11)
Jesus kept telling them that their grief would turn to joy. Joy is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. What a privilege to be the children of God and joint heirs with Christ! What a blessed hope to know you have eternal life as your sins are forgiven and death has no hold over you! The joy of salvation sets a child of God free from a sense of helplessness experienced by a natural man at the thought of death. Jesus prayed that we would have the same joy that the Father had given Him; a divine joy that comes from being rooted and grounded in a relationship with the Father. (John 17:13)
When you remain in His love, it becomes easy for you to obey His commands. As obedience leads to blessing, your joy will be made complete because it is His joy in you and no circumstance can ever shake it. You will feel complete in your experience of ‘anything’ in life only when it is from the Lord. All other feelings are temporary and of this world. The world can give you happiness, which is temporary. Only God can give you joy which is permanent and forever. The joy experienced by Stephen, Paul, Silas, Peter and others when they were stoned, imprisoned, tortured and even martyred is beyond human comprehension. They rejoiced in their suffering!
Habakkuk came to a point in his life where he could sincerely say that even if everything around him failed, he would still rejoice in God. His praise would not come easily as he watched everything fall short of his expectations but he would still praise God. He could not make the fig trees produce figs. He could not control the productivity of the flocks and herds. But he could control his own response to God and he chose to rejoice in the Lord.
As Jesus’ disciples are we experiencing the fullness of joy? Is our joy complete in Him? Is it His joy that we are experiencing? At times it seems that everything around us is collapsing. Projects we invested in may fail. People to whom we minister may disappoint us. Our business and career we worked hard to build may crumble. During such times let us pause and examine what is truly important to us in our life. Jesus said that we can experience the fullness of joy when we remain in Him and obey Him. May the joy of the Lord be our strength and may God help us to experience the fullness of His joy.
NLF-NLR Editorial Team
Share this Post