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Tag: joy

How to Replace Grief With Joy

“Not my Joe,” I cried out over and over again. Although he was 19, he was still my baby, the youngest of my three sons.

Written by Janet Perez Eckles on 28/05/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ComfortForgivenessJoy


casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

That night at the emergency room, black sorrow filled the air when the doctor said, “We lost him.”

Lord, how can that be possible? Joe was a leader in every way. He was the captain of his football team. He was the star player for his lacrosse team. Joe attended Bible study, encouraged anyone around him. His sense of humor and contagious smile lit a room.

He’s gone? Sleepless nights kept me tossing, trying to find an answer. Trying to seek God’s comfort and reaching for something, someone to ease the pain.

Is that what losing someone we cherish looks like? We long to fill the void, but cannot. We wish it were a nightmare and desperately hope to wake up and find all to be normal like before. And we secretly wonder, will peace ever come back?

But instead, peace becomes a foreign word. We drag grief like a chain that chokes with every step. And as we shuffle through life, we wipe one more tear and give one more sob.

But in the midst of all those emotions if faith remains, and if trust in God grows, He leans toward us and severs the chain of pain with these words: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

That’s exactly what I was doing, mourning, terribly and constantly. But Jesus said I’d be blessed. I’d be comforted.

I leaned my head back, inhaling His truth and savored the promise. That’s when, ever so tenderly, His healing trickled into my heart. It came in five stages:

  1. Belief that God’s love, unfailing and constant was available to me. In His tender care were my tears and my anxious moments. He said, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) In His hands I placed my hope for healing and my expectation of peace to come back.
  2. I changed. Rather than speak of the void in my heart, the pain of my loss or my dark fate, I spoke of the life in God’s restoring love. I repeated the power of God at work in me. And I declared the beautiful truth that God extends compassion for those whom He loves. I spoke words out loud that gave life into my gloom. Always remembering that, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (Proverbs 18:21)
  3. I chose to forgive. Initially, I was convinced the man who stabbed my Joe 23 times had to be punished. Justice had to prevail, and he had to suffer the consequences for such a horrible crime. Anger and bitterness toward the man were justified. But in Mark 11:25 God instructed the contrary. "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." On my knees, I asked God to help me do the impossible. I begged Him to help me forgive. He did. And my complete, genuine forgiveness ushered freedom that brought on peace, deep and lasting.
  4. Gratitude replaced bitterness. I looked back at the gift my Joe was to me for 19 years. And that’s when gratitude began to sing. I was grateful for the memories, of the laughter, hugs and the kisses from that young man. Each memory made my life rich. I thanked God for the nights I cried out because He was attentive to each one (Psalm 40:1). I thanked Him for the tears, for He stores them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). I thank Him for the stale grief of today, because tomorrow will be fresh and new. (Isaiah 43:18)
  5. Moving beyond my heartache, I chose to reach out. Every pain has a purpose. Some make us humble. Others make us grow, and others become the vessel God uses for His glory. And as His instruments, we can play the melody of God’s comfort to help ease others’ pain (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), encouraging others, showing them the path to peace and pointing them to Jesus is the formula that brings back our own joy.

 
Eventually, that joy changed my thoughts. I used to cry out, “not my Joe!” But because of my Joe, I came to know the reality of God’s comfort, the truth of His promises and the power of His love.


Pray this week:

Father, in the midst of my sorrow, speak Your truth to me. Grant me the heart to receive what You offer. Show me how to relish in the freedom that forgiveness brings, and help me prepare my heart to receive renewed joy. In Jesus name.


What needs to change for you to welcome joy once again?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How can We Have Joy in Trials?

The Bible says our faith is like gold that needs to be purified and refined in fire. The joy comes when we realize the fire makes the end product more valuable and beautiful.

Written by Hope on 13/04/2014

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ChallengesDifficultyJoysTrials


 

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2

 

Why does God allow trials in our life? They help build our faith and dependence on God. The Bible says our faith is like gold that needs to be purified and refined in fire. The joy comes when we realize the fire makes the end product more valuable and beautiful.

Expect Suffering

Our hope cannot be based on a comfortable, trouble-free life here on earth. Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles, but have courage! I have overcome the world” John 16:33. Jesus tell us to expect it; He says you will have troubles, not if you have troubles. Jesus’ promise is victory over the things of this world, not happiness in them. The Bible warns against us loving this world and its comforts (1 John 2:15-17). This world is fading away, and so are the pleasures it holds.

Suffering Builds Faith

Jesus died to make us holy and righteous. Our strength of character and faith is more important to him than our temporary happiness. “We confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that trials develop endurance; and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4.

When trials come, we are forced to trust in God. We realize we cannot depend on our own strength and knowledge. Jesus wants us to believe in his promises no matter what our current situation is.

Focus On the Joy

When we focus on Jesus and the things in heaven, we see that our troubles here on earth are only temporary. They cannot compare to the wonderful things God has ready for us in heaven.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. We can endure suffering when we have faith in God’s promises for eternity. Jesus himself was able to endure the cross “because of the joy awaiting him.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Let our prayer be this: “For I want to understand what really matters, so that I may live a pure and blameless life until the day of Christ’s return. May I always be filled with fruit of my salvation–the righteous character produced in my life by Jesus Christ–for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:9-11


Pray this week:

For help in bringing glory and praise to God in the midst of suffering.


What have you learned from your trials or circumstances in your life, or the life of others? Do you have questions sabout why hard things happen?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member