“The Bible teaches that true joy is formed in the midst of the difficult season of life.”
There was a season in my life in which many loved ones were experiencing illness or loss and I carried their needs daily to God’s throne of grace in prayer. I began to experience a heaviness, a lack of joy, and sought the Lord for answers. I asked God, “How can I rediscover joy when I’m living in the middle of so much pain and loss? Help me Lord, to find joy again.” My head acknowledged the truth stated in Nehemiah 8:10, that “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” yet my heart wasn’t encountering it.
God showed me I wasn’t able to carry their pain in prayer. He flat out told me I couldn’t do it because it was too much for me to carry. The Lord encouraged me to let go of carrying that burden and to give Him their pain, loss, and suffering. He said bearing their pain wasn’t my responsibility, but His. God instructed me to come alongside them as they walked through their trials, but I wasn’t supposed to assume the responsibility of the burden.
God then encouraged me to release each of the prayer burdens to Him, for Him to carry. I have a lot of my current prayer requests on post-it notes. So, one by one, I took each of the post-it notes, named the person and their adversity, and unbound me from the responsibility of carrying each burden and placed them into the hands of the One who could bear the weight of them.
The Lord closed our time together with these words. Let Me walk with you, holding your hand, teaching you how to hold joy and grief simultaneously. I promise to carry it for you. You just need to turn it over to Me and eventually your grief will give way to joy. If we take the Lord’s words to heart, then we will become a people who no matter what is going on in life, can recite Psalm 118:24. “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
In closing, let these words by Kay Warren encourage you: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life. The quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be okay. And the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
“Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering; it is the presence of God.”
Whose pain or loss are you carrying that the Lord wants you to turn over to Him?
Describe a time when you experienced both joy and grief at the same time.