How do we live joyfully when life hurts?
December 19 - December 23, 2022 | Always Peachy Devotionals | Walking With Joy Week 3
So. Last week was tough.
For a lot of reasons. But I have to admit that halfway through last week, I was wondering why in heaven’s name God led me to talk about Joy this month. Because joy is a complicated emotion in the best of times, and when your heart is hurting, it’s even more complex.
There are a lot of sad things happening right now. A lot of heaviness that just won’t dissipate. An abundance of brokenness that weighs down the spirit and makes every step feel like you’re wading through a swamp.
But the truth is, when life is hard and your heart is hurting, that’s when you need joy more than ever. The challenge is that you can’t rely on your normal ways of accessing it.
To be honest, I think the Lord led me to Joy as a topic this month because He knew I would need it. And I have.
My dear friend Aaron was killed in a car accident on December 9. He was 32. The other driver was at fault. And Aaron, though he’s at home with his Savior who he loved so much, leaves behind his sweet wife Mary, a precocious two-year-old daughter, and an unborn child who is expected to arrive this spring.
The entire writing community that we’re all part of has been reeling with sorrow and grief ever since Mary told us. I’ve known Aaron and Mary since 2013, watched them fall in love, rejoiced at their marriage, and celebrated the birth of their daughter and the announcement of baby number two. Aaron and I waited in line together at Realm Makers this year, commiserating on the outrageous cost of a convenience-store quality cobb salad and eagerly chatting about our writing goals for 2023.
I had no idea that would be the last time this side of eternity I’d speak with him.
Sorrowing with hope is tricky business. Grieving with joy is agony. You’re torn down the center, equal parts anguish and praise, and you’re never sure which side you’re going to land on at any given moment.
Joy at Christmas isn’t automatic. Joy in this broken, painful world is never a given. But it is a gift. And this week, we’re going to talk about how we can live a joyful life when grief is trying to strangle us.
December 19 - God is holding on to us
December 20 - God can do impossible things
December 21 - God is the One with the hard job
December 22 - God wants to help you get stronger
December 23 - God wants you to keep your eyes on Him
There are many reasons to be joyful, but we need more than a reason when sorrow and loss surround us. We need the truth. We need a bedrock foundation where we can stand, the unchanging, unmovable Rock that doesn’t bend or bow under the pressure of a storm.
Most of you didn’t know Aaron, so thank you for listening to my heart. I would ask that you pray for his sweet family. His services were held last Friday. And if the Lord leads you to do more than pray, there is a GoFundMe set up to support Mary and the babies.
And that leads us to this week’s verse, one that I am going to be reciting over and over again. Because this is one truth out of Scripture that I need the older I get—John 16:24.
Jesus was telling the disciples that He had to leave, that He would go away, but that they would see Him again. And when they saw Him once more, they would have joy that couldn’t be taken away. And that was true.
When the disciples watched Jesus die such a ruthless, horrible death, it had to feel like the end of the world. It certainly was the end of their world, the end of their dreams. But it wasn’t. When Jesus overcame death and walked out of the grave, it became a rallying cry for all of us who believe in Him.
Death isn’t the end. And if we don’t have to fear death, what is left to fear? Death is beaten. Conquered. An empty threat.
And THAT, my friends, is how we can live with joy, even when we’re hurting.
Love you all.
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