Have you prepared for JOY?
That was the question posed to me in a text a couple of weeks ago from my dear, far-away friend JH.
I had to pause and think about it. I guess I just knew there would eventually be positives in the process of becoming a foster parent but it seemed easier to prepare myself for the unknown pain and heartache. Am I equally preparing for the JOY? Perhaps JOY like I have never known in Him?!
Later that same friend continued her thoughts in an email.
"Jesus endured the cross for the JOY set before him. Is
preparing for JOY the same as always being ready for His return and our
ultimate, true JOY in total sanctification and the forever presence of
God? Of course eucharisteo :) pops into my head too - grace,
thanksgiving, JOY. A good reminder to me to give thanks in all things."
I am learning to abide in Christ while wearing the full armor of God so I may prepare for JOY. My head is spinning, people.
So I reached for my Bible concordance tonight to soak up what God has to say about His JOY.
"...for the JOY of the LORD is your strength." -Neh. 8:10
"Weeping may tarry for the night, but JOY comes with the morning." -Psalm 30:5b
"For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for JOY." -Psalm 92:4
"For you shall go out in JOY and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." -Isaiah 55:12
"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take JOY in the God of my salvation." -Hab. 3:17-18
"So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great JOY, and ran to tell the disciples." -Matt. 28:8
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my JOY may be in you, and that your JOY may be full." -John 15:9-11
"Truly, truly, I say to you, "you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into JOY. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for JOY that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will be able to take your JOY from you." -John 16:20-22
"May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." -Romans 15:13 (personal note: JP, God repeated this one to me in your note to me this week. Thank you for being obedient to Him by sharing it with me. <3)
"Count it all JOY, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." -James 1:2-4
"And we are writing these things so that our JOY may be complete." -1 John 1:4
OK so maybe that last one was a little out of context but I do believe all that I share here will be evidence of the JOY that comes from this journey. Keep praying for us. God is doing amazing things.