John 3:29 – …joy is mine, and it is now complete.
One year on a beautiful autumn Sunday, Jim and I drove to from our California home to Sequoia National Park to see the fall leaves. Driving to and through the park, we enjoyed the spectacular colors and God’s striking handiwork. We also found a rustic stone lodge perched on the edge of a stream. As we crossed over a little bridge, we stopped and looked at the brook that ﬂowed beneath it and sounded so pleasant and refreshing. It sounded like a lovely place to just jump in and splash around.
But, peering over the rail, we were surprised to discover the cause of the water’s sweet sound. We saw piles of large, jagged rocks that were impeding the water’s surface, even redirecting its path. This was certainly not the place for wading. It was even quite perilous. Nevertheless, the little brook gave forth utterly joyful sounds! Both Jim and I marveled that something so traumatic could cause something so lovely!
Yet isn’t this stream a picture of what real life is like— or at least of what the Christian life should be like? Our lives are ﬁlled with disappointments, crises, tragedies, heartaches, affliction, and struggles—just as Jesus said (John 16:33)! But the good news is, that as you and I encounter disquieting rocks that impede our progress, disturb our tranquility, break the surface, and redirect our path, God can give us the joy we need to produce sounds of praise to Him.
Beloved, Jesus desired that our joy might be full (John 16:24), but affliction, loss, stress, and pain can too easily rob us of any sense of joy. But, when we turn our gaze upon God in the midst of our suffering, we suddenly ﬁnd the power we need to praise Him despite the pain and to give thanks for His goodness…even when things are not so good. Thanks to the working of His Spirit in us, you and I can experience joy that transcends circumstances and transforms something traumatic into something truly lovely.
A Prayer to Pray: Jesus help me remember that Your joy is my joy and nothing in this world can take that away. Guide me through my circumstances and challenges so that my joy might be complete, rather than diminished.