Even when the sermon is about suffering. Suffering is not anybody's favorite subject. "Hey, everyone, let's talk about getting beat up for God!" And yet, we are called to share in the sufferings of Jesus. Most people will never understand that we "consider it all joy" to endure suffering in the name of Jesus.
That is because most people will never experience the joy that comes with the suffering. They will never see the answer to prayer just at the right time. The unexpected gift, the cure, or the reunion after long separation are wonderful things. But the peace that really does surpass understanding is even more wonderful. The joy in God's grace is enough to make you weep.
It's like refreshing, nurturing rain when you least expect it.
Today I was walking in the yard, brown grass crunching underfoot, thinking about how much we need rain. There was no rain in the forecast, no clouds on the radar. Yet suddenly there was a rumble, and then another one. Dark clouds appeared, then threatened to go north of us.
I prayed. Yes, I prayed for rain. Within minutes, a drenching rain was falling. For the next half hour, it poured. I'm not sure how much came down, but it was definitely over half an inch. Puddles formed. You could almost hear the grass sigh with relief and delight. Creation was rejoicing, at least here in Bayfield.
Joy is like that. Your life is at its driest. There is no relief in sight. Just when things get darkest, when you hear the angry rumble of discouragement coming closer and closer, and just when you think nothing will help, the Spirit pours down and fills you with His grace.
The dryness is gone. And in it's place you find Joy!
I pray for the nourishing, refreshing rain of the Spirit in your life today. I pray that He will drench you with His grace. I pray that you will know Jesus.
And I pray that you will find Joy.