“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”- Psalm 16:11
I had the opportunity to speak for a ministry a couple hours from me in the northern part of West Virginia. It was a wonderful experience to see a group of people trying to influence the lives of people who are living in poverty, struggling in life, and trying to figure out how to see beyond their present circumstances.
They were holding to a true holistic ministry approach, they weren’t only trying to meet the spiritual needs, but all aspects of a person’s life. They had financial training, after school programs, literacy programs, empowerment programs, and much more.
I loved it!
The service I spoke in was not a “normal” church or youth service because it had people from all walks of life, not just kids, worshiping and eating together. It was a community meeting together for a purpose of love and connection. Perhaps this is the way Christ intended the Church to look like?
At the end of my time I was exiting the room and a young lady came up to me. She shared that she was dealing with a mental illness that could end up taking her life. She was scared and questioning God. She wanted to know why He was doing this to her and taking her joy of life away.
My heart broke as I saw tears flowing from her eyes and fear in her voice.
My response to her was this, “God does not take joy away. Satan does.There are two ways to look at the situation:
1) You live life to its fullest in Christ. You love others, you serve others, and you look beyond your situation to bring joy into the life of others through your love of Jesus and His love for you. If He takes you to be with Him, then you will be in everlasting joy in His presence and you left a legacy behind for people to see someone who knew her life would end and she gave it away to others.
2) You do everything I just said, but God chooses to heal you and your life continues here one earth. Then, you praise Him continually, doing what you have been doing and sharing His awesome work in your life.”
I went on to console her and say, “It is alright to grieve the news. It is fine to feel frustration or anger. It is alright to question God. However, when you ask the question of ‘Why?’, be ready for Him to say, ‘Because I am God and My plans are greater. Trust that I’m with you and know that your life is meant for My glory, whether it ends tomorrow or 50 years from now. Let Him use you for however long you’re here. The enemy wants to end your joy, God wants to fulfill it.”
We prayed and I encouraged her to speak to the ministers on staff.
My heart is still broken for this young lady, but it makes me think of all of us.
We all deal with these hard circumstances that cause us to question. We ask, “Why me?” or “What did I do?”
God has answers, but all too often in our grief, we drown out His voice. He wants us to ask, but we have to be willing to listen to the answer.
Joy is never taken away by God. The enemy is the one who came to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came to give us life everlasting (John 10:10). The joy in the sorrow is hard to find, but when we truly seek it, we will find it in the face of Jesus.
Pain is real. Acknowledge it and work through the process, but we must constantly seek God’s truth in the midst of the lies trying to tell us He doesn’t love us in our struggle.
May we find peace in the arms of our Creator. May we find joy in the sorrow of life. May we remember the truth of scripture that leads us to know our God is with us.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How have you seen God shine His joy through your sorrow?