At least once a week Emily and I find ourselves singing With Joy in front of a new crowd of people.
Before singing, I typically ask everyone in the room this question, “Is there anybody in here that is struggling with something in life? Anybody got things they are dealing with?”
Oddly enough, the whole crowd chuckles. (Or at least most of the time)
They chuckle and show signs of confirmation that yes, indeed, they ALL have things they are dealing with.
We laugh so we don’t cry right?
I have yet to encounter a grown human being who doesn’t feel like they are in the midst of dealing with something challenging.
We are ALL going through hard stuff. And sometimes it’s really hard to feel joyful.
Let’s just get out of the way the instant wall we put up in the talk about joy. I truly don’t know what you are going through. More than likely, it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming. If I knew what many of you were going through, I know I would be devastated.
In the same way, you guys don’t really know what I’ve been through.
Pain can make us feel isolated and alone. Even when you try and explain it to those you are close with, have you ever noticed that it still feels like no one will ever understand?
We might not understand the different breeds of pain we are each dealing with… but we do know that we are all dealing with stuff.
But let’s shift our gaze for just a minute and realize that NONE OF US really knows and understands the incredible amount of pain and suffering Jesus went through on the Cross.
We like to think that we understand, but we don’t.
Jesus was called the man of sorrows.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.Isaiah 53:3
Not only was there incredible amounts of physical suffering, but Jesus endured great amounts of internal suffering as well. He was abandoned and betrayed by all of His friends. He was wrongly accused and condemned as a criminal when he wasn’t one. He was unjustly murdered by the government that upheld “the law” of the day. He suffered the inner blows of temptation and the fleshy desire to go against the will of God. Jesus suffered the wrath of God. Jesus suffered that alone. No one was there to help. No savior for Jesus. Jesus suffered greatly.
That’s why Hebrews 12:1-2 is so amazing to me.
…let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.Hebrews 12:1-2
It says that yes, Jesus endured. That alone is astounding. How can anyone endure that much suffering?
But not only did He endure… He endured with JOY!
Is anyone else amazed by this!?!?
What I’m learning is this…
Joy was the key to Christ’s endurance. He would not have been able to endure had it not been for JOY.
Joy was the key to Christ’s endurance. He would not have been ablet o endure had it not been for JOY.
The same is true for us.
The key to enduring isn’t someone else understanding our pain. The key to enduring isn’t through gritting your teeth and bearing it. The key to enduring isn’t in hiding and isolating yourself from the world.
They key to enduring is to set your mind on the joy set before you.
This is really hard for those that don’t believe in Christ. If this is you, is there any real joy set before you? For you, pain is pointless.
But it doesn’t have to be that way…
For those of us that believe in Christ, we believe the promise in Romans 8:18 that says,
…the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to usRomans 8:18
It’s so hard to believe this promise when the pain is so intense! Especially maybe even now during the Christmas season.
But I just want to encourage you to believe! I want to encourage you to have faith!
What is coming for you is SO GREAT that this current pain you are experiencing is hardly going to be remembered.
If you and I can set our minds on that promise… if we can truly get into the habit of thinking about what is coming… we will find the strength to endure. We will be able to not only endure, but to be filled with joy throughout the suffering.
Joy doesn’t mean that the suffering doesn’t exist. It doesn’t live in denial.
Joy helps you endure what is VERY real. Suffering is real. The Bible doesn’t sweep it under the rug. Our faith doesn’t ignore it. We simply believe that the suffering we are experiencing isn’t pointless and isn’t without care and notice.
This joy we have access to is produced by hope and without hope nobody will endure. Our hope is found in believing the promises of God. Our hope is found in reading Hebrews 12:1-2. Our hope is found in looking to Jesus and being encouraged by Him.
This joy we have access to is produced by hope and without hope nobody will endure.
You could say that joy is a matter of perspective. It’s a matter of the filter through which you see life. It’s a matter of faith.
We all believe something and what we believe informs how we see the things we experience. Not only that, but it even affects how we experience our circumstances.
That’s why some can endure great amounts of suffering, hardship, and pain with joy… while others experience the similar pain but with great amounts of misery and bitterness.
All the days the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15
Who ends up suffering more?
We wrote this song so that we could remember to take advantage of the joy that is offered to us in and through Christ. We want to remember to look to Jesus so that we can have great amounts of hope and joy in the midst of the hard times.
We want to receive the help that our Lord is offering us. He might not be taking away the suffering right now…but he does offer us help through it. It’s our choice on whether or not we will receive that help.
We hope that you will fight for joy! We hope that you will be encouraged to simply believe that the Word of God is the truth.
And we hope that this song can help assist many of you in the daily fight for joy.
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