We’ve officially moved into Thanksgiving week. People are buzzing with turkey preps, packing, family gatherings, and talk of thanksgiving.
But what for those who feel suffocated by life at the moment? How do you choose joy when joy feels so far away?
When diagnosis threatens, children go astray, job security is tenuous, marriages are on the edge, family discord makes the idea of a family table seem like an earthly version of the Hot Place, or maybe there is an empty chair there for the first time and the stuff of life just weighs like a millstone. What then?
I pray you are not in this boat, but I know some of you are and it can make the seasonal joy feel trite. And I want to speak into your heart today.
Joy isn’t gone. JOY ISN’T GONE!!!!!
My bible study had me in Ezekiel this morning. Israel was dead as a nation. Hope was lost. Days came and went but the sun never seemed to shine. Not to unlike how life sometimes feels. In a vision, God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones – a visual of the death Israel’s hearts are living. And,
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” (Ezekiel 37:5)
I smiled at a God who was preparing my heart for a true understanding of gratitude.
Because I realized that of all the times that I’ve felt weakest in my life that is when I was really the strongest. When we are too weak to do anything in our own strength or emotion THAT is when we let God most fully in. And He works to breathe life into our heaped up darkness so we can stand again.
Friends, the Love of the Lord that fills you rises bigger than your circumstance. He restores even the grimmest of situations and through that abiding, faithful love we are transformed. We cling tighter and our faith grows deeper, quietly empowering us to walk away from our dry seasons oddly enriched. Prepared, even, to share hope in the darkness.
THIS is genuine joy.
Maybe you feel like dry bones today. That is okay. The Great Physician is intricately working your spiritual repair. Maybe you are standing tall once again. Your life has bore witness that more of Him and less of you yields earthly revival. Share and pray with a friend in need.
Thanksgiving is mine, yours, ours not because of the hullaballoo around us but the Spirit in us, watering the parched hidden spaces in our lives and revealing the only eternal joy that can never be taken and always resurrects. Jesus.