In Sorrow Joy Remains

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you (John 16:22).

There are many things I can list that I tried to prepare my children for. What to do if you fall down, or someone calls you an ugly name, or you face disappointment or a challenge. Rise up, be better, take heart, never give up. But I never considered preparing my children for grief and sorrow until they were faced with it once, then again, then again, and again. Oh Lord, I wish I would have seen Your example sooner. Jesus prepared His companions, His friends that He would lay down His life for those He loves (us all) (John 15:13-15), to remember His words and how He taught them and equipped them so they would not stumble. He warned them of adversities, cruelty and hardship. And Jesus also shared His provision never ceases, to remain in hope and joy, because even though He would be gone in the physical, His Spirit would always guide them and help them (and us) (John 16).

It is hard to be a parent and witness the pain life throws at our children. We want to protect them from everything. But God knew we couldn’t so He sent His son to experience the ultimate weight of sorrow for us, and teach us we have to even prepare our children for difficult news… the coming death of those they love. We will all die someday. Praise God for life eternal for all those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! (John 3:16). The Word of God teaches us loss is hard, sorrow does come, but it is not meant to keep us down to where we are unable to stand tall again, feel good again, rejoice again, fulfill our purpose and calling. We are to hold onto joy and celebrate the people in our lives; cherish them now, celebrate them always knowing special people in our lives have given us something. Words of wisdom, a shared talent or skill, knowledge, attributes that have grown us up or developed us, lasting memories. The light of the Lord equates to peace. Even in the depth of our tears, the peace of God remains and restores our soul.

Children; Dear ones, sometimes people must leave us unexpected, sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes people just get older and have loved and lived long, sometimes we will have time to prepare for a loved one’s departure; either way it won’t feel good in the moment. But they have given us something of themselves that never leaves. Our responsibility now is to continually share the love of God, the salvation of Jesus, and the never-ceasing joy that can’t be robbed by death because its source is heavenly, powerful and victorious. We celebrate those people by the way we love, the way we serve and help, the way we contribute, the way we encourage, and the way we walk with grace through tough times, road blocks, and stumbles. We celebrate them by living to our full potential, walking forward in righteousness and gratitude. Hug people, listen to people, be present. Manifest the name of Jesus, and know He is with you always.

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And in the night His song shall be with me – A prayer to the God of my life (Psalm 42:8 NKJV).

Give it Away

How heavenly life would be if nothing ever hurt, crumbled, caused despair, or confusion? One day, the Lord promises. However, right now the world reality is very real and tiresome at times. Though, as God stands before us, we must learn to give it all away to Him. Not only our praise in triumph but our sorrow in the tragedies. David once began a statement with, Who am I, and what is my life (1 Samuel 18:18a), who are we, and what is our life? We are created and purposed for the will and the joy of the Father and our life is His. As Jesus said, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one (John 17:23a). As we tread through the mud we show the world the stamp on our life – Love (made perfect through Christ Jesus).

If we take all of our burdens and pains and pile them on our own shoulders, how will we then have the strength to move, the room to carry another, the lightness to lift a friend? Cast your cares at the feet of the cross, cast them at the feet of the King, who promises refreshment and refuge. There is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3), but do not miss precious and useful moments in time with being buried in things God is wanting to take from you and work out for you. Let the Lord delight in the rawness of your prayers, for He already knows, so open up and lay it down, then let the might of God go to work. You instead press on in joy, and with the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Further, fellowship. The times I have spent with others has brought me encouragement and sometimes needed correction, and in togetherness we recognize we all cry and ache. You friend are not alone.

The Lord your God in your midst; The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV).

Prayer

Enlarge My Heart

Such a simple but powerful request, “enlarge my heart.” Three words joined together in Psalm 119 (vs 32b). There are many things I am sure anyone of us could recall with quickness that are commonly asked for and requested throughout the day. Even in our quiet thoughts there are request and desires chattering around our minds. Though what an awesome prayer to ask for a bigger heart, filled with the heart of Christ and the passion of His Spirit. There are no perfect human ambitions or deeds, and we are all definitely far from being a perfect model of rightness. But praises there is a perfect love, there is a perfect heart. Not found in us, but found in Jesus, found in God the Father in who we have access.

Imagine the possibility of global peace if everyone asked for an enlarged heart? A heart with compassion for the weak, concern for the suffering, longing for the lonely, passion for the lost, eager toward serving, open to listening, willing to be available, endearing in speech, caring in approach, kind in motive, tender in expression, fond of building others up, craving consideration, loving sacrificially, driven by unity and to desire nothing in return.

For the love of Christ compels us,” (2 Corinthians 5:14a), to want to be patient and more understanding, to desire to love as Christ has loved. My prayer is that each of you will explore the love of God in your life and reflect on the promises provided through His redeeming love in Christ Jesus. Allow your heart to love for His sake (Lord allow my heart to love more for your sake), for “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear,” (1 John 4:18a). Through Jesus, love removes condemnation and we get to love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). For that reason let us together seek to be examples of love to those within our environments, fulfilling the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31) overflowing as we are filled by God, reciting with gladness that it is the Lord whom “satisfies the longing soul,” (Psalm 107:9).

…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3 NKJV).