I got a little emotional during class Sunday morning as we discussed finding joy in our affliction. We are studying the book of Isaiah, which I've really enjoyed. It's not really the most uplifting book (overall) but there are great moments of hope to be found as well. That's one of the many awesome things about God. He never leaves us without any hope. The people of Isaiah's day suffered many afflictions. Many of them were of their own making. Some were simply the product of living in a fallen world. Either way, we would be wise to heed the warnings from Isaiah, learn from the mistakes of their time, and to remind ourselves that even in the midst of suffering and woe, God remains faithful to His people. He will bring restoration. He will make everything right. He will bring atonement for us.
So, back to finding joy in our affliction... You've probably heard the verse, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." (James 1:2). Well, most of us don't. Pure joy? Come on, let's be real. Pain and suffering hurt. And we don't like to hurt...at least I know I don't. But did you know that having joy is not the same thing as being happy? You can have joy and be sad at the same time. How? I'll try to explain.
Noah Webster defines joy as "the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of
good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by
success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good
possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or
desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits. Joy is a delight
of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured
approaching possession of a good." (emphasis mine) Joy is an anticipation of something better, something good, something we desperately want. It is a confident hope of what our heart most desires.
Today is my brother's birthday. He would have been 32 years old. Over three years have come and gone since his death. I miss him so much. I miss the sound of his voice, his laugh, his funny phrases like "That's messed up" or "Tighten up". I'm pretty sure that if he had lived long enough to hear it, "yolo" would have been at the top of that list, too. (For the older generation, that's short for "you only live once".) I miss his hugs, as painful as they could be. I remember one particular time when I hugged him upon seeing him for the first time after several months and it was like hugging a rock! He was so muscular and strong. He, on the other hand, probably felt like he was hugging a marshmallow. lol
So, today we have a birthday with no "birthday boy". This is the fourth time we have endured it and I wonder how many more birthdays we will "celebrate" without him. So this cycle will continue every year until Jesus returns or we die. But what else can we do? We wait. We give thanks to God that Matt was born. We give thanks to God for his life, for his influence, and for his heart. We give thanks to God for His mercy, His forgiveness, His love. We give thanks that because of His great love, He has given us an escape from despair, pain, and loss. He is our Hope. He is...you guessed it...our Joy. So, today we celebrate Matt's life, earthly as well as eternally. We wait expectantly for that glorious day when we will see him again face to face and praise our heavenly Father forever and ever and ever amen!...together. Until then, we will cry tears of joy, for joy can be found in the mourning. Happy Birthday, lil bro! Love you bunches!!
- I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)