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Thursday, January 26, 2017

And Then Comes Joy



“You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (1 Peter 1:8, NLT).

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ even though I have never seen Him face to face. I know He is with me in each moment of pain, and I feel His encouragement and peace when my heart is broken. He lives in my heart and that makes my life safe from all that comes against me. I may not see Him with my eyes, yet I trust Him with my whole being. I seek His wisdom, and He graciously imparts His Word and its message to me. He is my peace and my joy when life happens—He is my rock. He is my life.

This verse in 1 Peter imparts the truth that if I love Jesus Christ with all my being and if I trust Him even though I can't see Him, then I rejoice with a glorious and inexpressible joy. For years I loved and trusted Him with all my being, but this promise of joy eluded me. At one time it was beyond what my mind and heart could conceive.

Over thirty years ago I discovered in a book by Catherine Marshall that there was something more I needed in my life. She wrote of a joy that could be mine through choosing Him as Lord of all of me. In choosing to live a sanctified life and seeking His wisdom I was obediently preparing my life for this promise of joy. God asked me if I hungered enough for the glory He had for me. He said if I was hungry enough He would fill me with all of Himself.  But I must surrender and choose Him above all else—to be my center—to be my deliverer—to be my healer—to be my strength—to be my purpose. Desperately starved for His joy one evening in Vicksburg, Mississippi I chose Him to be Lord of every part of my life. I invited the Holy Spirit to become in me all that I was incapable of being—to fill me to overflowing with His grace. At first I felt fear because I knew I was asking an all-powerful God to live in me in a way I had never experienced, and I knew it called for surrender of every part of myself. But fear couldn’t stand in the face of faith. I began to praise Him. He washed me in His love, and His presence encircled me. He captured me completely as His own. Filled with a joy I couldn’t express with mere words, I rejoiced in Him. He brought strength I so desperately needed to walk in His Spirit above the pain that life inflicts. I was free from the power of the past to claim my mind—free from what had stood between me and His overwhelming love. He delivered me from myself. His promise that night was joy. I chose Him and I chose joy.

There is a joy that is so deep and so complete that it can’t be explained. There are no words. There is just Him. Everyday I still choose Him, and I still choose joy.

 (Copyright 2017 Lynn Hampton Lacher)

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