Sunday, December 30, 2012
Reflections on 2012's Resolution
Last year, 3 months before we knew together that God was calling us to adopt and 4 months before we were convinced our children were in Nicaragua, I wrote this post about my New Year's Resolution for 2012:
"Word of the Year 2012"
I concluded with these words:
"I've learned (and will relearn for life) that God is in control and that He leads my life and that I can trust Him. Now, it's time to learn that God is ENOUGH and as long as I have Him I can rejoice and be JOY full. I believe that is the secret of being able to "tread on the heights," to travel where ever God would lead not matter how difficult and being ABLE to do it and with rejoicing and JOY. That's the goal... If there is a New Years Resolution, that's it, though I am quite sure it will have to be learned well past 2012... I'm ready to get started."
These words, of course seem prophetic to me now, a little hint of what my year would hold.
For 2 years I have chosen a word of the year and last year's word was: "JOY".
The advice my husband receive when he moved here before the rest of us (from a seasoned missionary to Nicaragua) was this: "Don't let this place and what you will experience here steal your joy."
About 3 months into my time in Nicaragua when our adoption had stalled multiple times, I was struggling hard to keep my joy. I was fighting despair and hopelessness. I told my husband I not only did not feel joyful but wasn't quite sure anymore what it even was.
I started looking up all the Bible passages that used the word "Joy".
What I found was:
There is joy in watching God move and work. (Lev. 9:24, 1 Chron. 29:17, 22).
There is joy in understanding God's Word to us. (Neh. 8:12)
There is joy as a blessing of being involved in God's work and His celebrations. (Deut. 16:15, Ezra 6:16, 22)
There is joy experienced as God moves through us, allowing us to do things we could not otherwise do. (Luke 10:17)
There is joy as we love one another and have unity in the body of Christ. (John 15:11-12, this one brings Jesus joy!)
God's blessing of joy gives us strength as He fills us with joy. (Neh. 8:10, Rom. 15:13)
The fruit from those we minister to brings us joy. (Phil. 4:1)
Trials bring joy, not because they are fun, of course, but because they produce perseverance in us and refine our faith. (James 1:2, 1 Peter 1:7).
(These are the tip of the iceberg! If you search out "joy" in the Bible you will find so much more!)
Joy is not a feeling I muster up. Joy is a product of knowing God and making Him known, watching God move, working for God, seeing our faith and perseverance grow. Joy is a look in and a look back, with a knowing that you are where God wants you to be. Joy is that satifaction takes up residence in us when we are doing everything we can to make sure we are living only for God, knowing that if Jesus were to return we would be glad he found us where we are.
"Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy in His dwelling place." ~1 Chronicles 16:27