looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. This famous quote from Dickens sums up well a recent event in life for my wife and I. As we welcomed our little daughter in to the world, the joy and excitement of the event was the best of times! However, within days of the event, the whole world was put in to lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, we found ourselves in a world of isolation, praying for friends who had contracted the disease. It was the worst of times.
There is a biblical concept exemplified by the juxtaposition that my wife and I found ourselves to be in. That concept is ‘Joy and Endurance’. The two go hand in hand. You will have joy, if you are able to endure; and you will have endurance, if you have joy. We are given a great example of this by the writer of Hebrews who explains that Jesus kept sight of joy as he endured the cross.
I want to encourage you today to keep sight of joy. Isaiah 12:3 says “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.“. If you are wondering what you have to give thankful for, look to the cross. Remember again what it means that Jesus died for you. The cross represents that you are forgiven, you are cleansed, you are liberated, you are adopted, you have eternal life within you. Reminding yourself of these things should stir up joy within. So, even in the toughest of times, there will be an ability within you to endure.
On a practical, and seemingly less spiritual level, let me encourage you to do something today that you enjoy! Make room in your schedule for things that bring joy. Without that, you will burn out. Go play some golf, or watch a movie, or go shopping, or go hang out with someone that makes you laugh. The moments of joy are needed to enable you to get through the tough times when they come.
Do I have joy and endurance. Or am I trying to endure with no joy? When was the last time I did something that I really enjoyed?
Thank you Lord Jesus that you endured the cross. Thank you that my salvation was part of the joy that was set before you. Help me today to find joy in the journey and help me, therefore, to endure the tough times for your glory.