The best things happen when I come to the end of myself. When I choose to look up instead of feeding the growing knot of bitterness and self pity that will eventually turn to stone. The wound may continue to throb, dark thoughts may rob me of sleep, but when I cry out to Him, He always, ALWAYS hears me.
The disillusioned Psalmist understood this. Evil was dancing on all that was good in the land; he understood that God could put an end to it at any moment, but was holding back. He responded in pain: “How long will the enemy mock you, O God?…Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?” Psalm 74:10-11 NIV
God left a remnant, a scrap of people in his promised land now swallowed up in darkness. “Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord.” Zephaniah 3:12 NLT. The people left behind in the land were not abandoned:
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT.
What was true for the remnant is true for me. To be human is to be acquainted with darkness and pain; to know Christ is to know the one who took all my pain and disillusionment to the cross. No matter how dark the night is, how messed up my thoughts and emotions are, even if the pain feels like it is going to take me out, the truth is, I am never alone; joy is mine. Joy is not a mood or an emotion; it is a reality.
God knows that at times, I may feel abandoned; His Word couldn’t be clearer; I am not. He is right here, closer than my next heart beat, my next breath.
The Macedonian Church understood the reality of God’s love for them through the grace of Jesus Christ; even Paul was surprised at their grace and generosity:
“They are being tested by many troubles and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not what they could afford, but far more. And they did it out of their own free will.” 2 Corinthians 8:2-3 NLT.
This kind of joy, the joy found in knowing Jesus, turns the world upside down. It is a joy that I can not will myself into, earn or fabricate. It is the joy that can only be found in Him. It is a light and hope in the darkest of places. It is a gift I long for and God longs to give it. It can be found in the footsteps of His Son:
“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT.
May I understand how truly rich I am.