Monday, March 14, 2016

A Strange but Glorious Joy – A REPOST

In July of 2014 I posted the following blog. Now that we're getting settled in our fairly new place, I thought I'd repost it today and then give an update in couple of days. So here we go...

Kim and I are in a season of transition. Due to some health and financial problems, we have to move from our home, get into a more affordable living situation, and otherwise reduce our expenses as much as possible. We’re staying in the same area, and staying at Glory of Christ Fellowship, but we have to move. We’re okay with this, life happens and God is good, but it would be less than honest to say that this season has been easy.

For example, though we’ve only lived in our house for six years, we’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in our lives. We’ve both been transient people for a long time, but now that we’re in our late 40s, it’s starting to wear on us a bit. And furthermore, we’ve made some significant advances with our neighbors, most of whom don’t believe in Jesus, and we’re sad to have to walk away from them before we see with our eyes the fulfillment of our prayers.

But here we stand, knowing that our gracious God is calling us to leave (again), not knowing where he’s calling us to land, and not knowing the details of what life will be like once we get there. We’re in a season of transition, of limbo, of mystery, of the unknown

And we’re in a season that holds much potential for a strange but glorious joy, if only we’ll have eyes to see and hearts to receive.

I find it difficult to explain what I mean, but let me give it a shot. When we have a serious and genuine need and we bring it to Jesus in prayer – not briefly and superficially but regularly and fervently – he will often grant us an assurance of his answer such that we experience a joy that’s usually reserved for those who see the answer with their eyes. To be sure, we do experience a sweet joy when God answers our prayers and allows us to receive what he’s supplied. But it seems to me that we experience a sweeter joy, a strange and glorious joy, when God gives us the assurance that he’s answered our prayers without allowing us to receive what he’s supplied – at least not yet. I find it nearly impossible to describe what it’s like to have such confidence in God’s answer, that we’re filled with joy before we see God’s answer.

When I was little, my daddy would sometimes tell me that he was going to give me something in a day or a week or a month. I believed him. I trusted him. I rested in his word. I had peace and joy in waiting, because I knew that my daddy would provide what he promised, in his time and in his way. And he did.

These experiences were but the smallest glimpse of the strange and glorious joy that’s ours each time we pray, receive assurance, and wait on our Father’s timing. And I think that the essence of this joy is love, trust, and the unshakable hope that our heavenly Father will provide what he has promised, in his time and in his way.

Indeed, Kim and I have no idea where we’re going to live, and how it’s all going to work out, but we know the One who knows. We know that he sees our new home. He sees where we’ll park our cars and walk our dog. He sees where all of our furniture, decorations, dishes, and things will go. He sees the place or two where Kim and I will spend the majority of our prayer time, and surely he rejoices at the thought of meeting us there.

We know next to nothing, he knows everything, and the strange and glorious joy we’re experiencing right now comes from resting in what he knows rather than stressing in what we don’t know. O how the words of Paul in Romans 15:13 have ministered to my heart in recent days, please savor them with me: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [literally, “in faithing”], so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Indeed, may he do that, not only for Kim and I, but for all who call on his name and rest in him by faith. I look forward to writing a follow up to this blog in a few months and giving glory to our Father for all that he’s done!

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