Our Advent theme for this week is Joy. If you’d like to start at the beginning of this 4-part Advent series, begin here.
“When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126 NIV
Have you ever been stunned by God’s goodness? Have you ever had something or someone do something in your life that left you speechless, made you want to pinch yourself or perhaps, you thought you must be dreaming? The people recounting the deeds done by the Lord in Psalm 126 felt this way. Dumbstruck, they only could respond with laughter and songs of joy upon their lips. Their joy was so great within them that they were filled with it and all the difficulty, the hardships, the pain, the suffering, the sorrow had been transformed into joy.
They had been captives in a land not their own for many years but God never forgot them in their place of difficulty. He knew where they were and He brought them back. Not only did He restore them, but everyone around them recognized the hand of God in their lives. He does the same for us. Sometimes in our difficult circumstances, in our pain and grief, God seems silent and distant. He appears to have forgotten that we exist. Nothing is further from the truth. God sent His Son to them and to us. Jesus came to bind up brokenhearted people, to give freedom to those who are captives and to bring light to those who have been in darkness. (Isaiah 61:1) Jesus is Immanuel; God with us. (Isaiah 7:14) The Word made flesh who made His dwelling among us. (John 1:14)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
From the fullness of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16) Don’t be afraid or terrified because of your difficulties or circumstances, Child of God, for He goes with you and will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Continue in hope, faith, and joy to serve; knowing that He will bring about a harvest of abundance. Our Lord God wants to transform our heartache and our lives into songs of joy.
Blessings of joy to you,