Romans 12:12 New International Version (NIV)
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
When my father was fighting in WWII, he would faithfully write home to his mother. In one of his letters home, he wrote that God had told him about the 3 B’s, and he was supposed to share it and explain it in a letter to his mother. After that initial letter, he would write in every letter he sent home (in the place of the P.S) Remember the 3 B’s: Be Cheerful, Be Thoughtful, Be Prayerful. Growing up, I could sit for hours and listen to my dad tell his stories from that time in his life; few were funny, some were scary, and most of them were horrifying. I truly believe that God sent those words to my pa, so he could write them down for his mama and they both would find comfort in them.
Shortly after my father said his final farewell and went to hang out with Jesus forever, my world crashed down around me. My marriage had failed, my family was being torn apart, I did not know how to grieve (only replace) and my pa was gone. I felt alone in all of my despair. Unfortunately, that is what it took for me to realize that I was never alone to begin with. Christ was and is enough for me. I remember crying out to the Lord to heal and forgive me, to fill me with His joy regardless of the circumstances in my life. As long as I can remember, Romans 12:12 has been my favorite verse in the Bible. After that night, I clung to Christ and that verse. Anytime, I would get caught up and hurt by my own sin, or by the sins and actions of others, I would say that verse. I must have said that verse 8,452 times… at least! I found comfort through my relationship with Christ, and that verse was a constant reminder of that comfort.
One night as I was writing What is Your Calling? , and reliving my awaking with Christ, I said that verse aloud. Then I immediately felt a rush of unexplainable warmth and joy fill my heart. Romans 12:12, Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I realized that is what God told my pa, all those years ago…Be Cheerful, Be Thoughtful, Be Prayerful.
This October will be the five-year anniversary of my father’s new life with Christ. I miss my pa. I miss him every single day. I miss making him cookies and tuna melts. I miss singing with him and hearing his stories. I miss his hugs, the sound of his laughter, and I even miss his smell. I often say, that I wish he could have met my new husband; he would have been so happy for me. I’m sad that he missed seeing my joy in Christ. A joy I should have had, through all of my circumstances.
Tonight, I shared a live video post on social media, of a mother and father who had just lost their son. They were struggling to hold back tears, as they asked the public for help in locating the person who ran the red light; which ultimately ended their son’s life. What they didn’t struggle with, was JOY! Through their pain, through their sorrow, and heartache, Christ’s joy was written all over their faces. They were praising Christ in their darkest storm. They were thankful their son was with Christ, and it showed as His light was shining bright in them.
I encourage you to find your joy. Let go of unforgiveness, bitterness, pain, grief, and sorrow~ allow the Love of Christ to bring you joy! Don’t be like me and end up wishing that the people, who may be gone tomorrow, could have seen that JOY in you.