By Deb Gorman
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…” 1 Peter 1:8
I’ll tell you a story of how my joy perished.
I’m an optimist. That’s my worldview and how God fashioned my soul. But when my beloved younger sister died, my joy went to the grave with her.
Isaiah 61:1-3 give us an image of joy and its opposite—what I call “anti-joy.”
Bound up (healed) … broken hearted
Freedom … captivity
Provision … grief
Crown of beauty … ashes
Joy … mourning
Praise … despair
For years, I lived on the right side of that list. I thought I’d never experience happiness again, that food would forever taste bland, and accomplishments would remain uncelebrated.
But I reckoned without the mercy and grace of God. Even though I’d lost sight of Him, He was there, working in the background to help bring me back to belief and joy. As time went on, happiness slowly returned. But joy? Joy didn’t return until one evening three or four years ago, when I was mindlessly looking at Facebook.
I received a private message from my sister’s older boy—he was about nine when she died. I was surprised to hear from him. It’d been at least twenty years.
We had a good time texting and catching up. Then, straight from God’s heart to mine, my nephew said the joy-resurrecting words.
“Aunt Deb, before we say good-bye, I want you to know I’m a follower of Jesus now, along with my wife and kids. Just thought you should know.”
I can’t adequately explain what I felt in that moment other than “joy inexpressible.”
The joy born that night came full circle when my nephew and family visited from Montana two years ago. I had the inexpressible joy of giving my sister’s engagement ring to my nephew’s daughter—my sister’s granddaughter, whom she’d never met.
When she slid her grandmother’s ring on her finger and I saw the inexpressible joy on her face, I knew I had a little bit of my sister back. God had waited for the perfect time to fill the hole in my heart.
Inexpressible joy is knowing that whatever comes my way in this life is filtered through my Father’s hands.
Which side of the list do you live in today?
What tragic circumstance has the Father allowed you to experience, one which has killed your joy?
Will you trust Him with it? Will you wait to see what He will do in your life to bring back to you the reality of His presence—joy inexpressible?
Deb Gorman, owner of Debo Publishing, is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a wife, mom, grandmom, and author. Her purpose is to re-gift the Word of God to believers and seekers everywhere, using the talent and imagination God gave her. Her prayer is that His Name would be praised and His glory would fill the earth! Visit her online at https://www.debggorman.com.
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Originally published Friday, 22 September 2023.