Defiant Joy

 

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are with me." Psalm 23:4....."You can get past what you can't get over." Beth Moore

 

I listened to a couple that several years ago lost their 8 year old daughter to cancer, speak of that experience. The mother, Kate Merrick, wrote a book on the experience, with the sub-title, "Defiant Joy In The Depths Of Suffering." That title caught my attention, because as I thought on it, that is exactly what our joy must be sometimes; defiant. Defiant in the face of all the "Why's?" that we are walking through. Defiant in the face of all the enemy's slings and arrows aimed at stealing the very joy He has for us. Defiant in the midst of a journey that is literally taking us through the "valley of the shadow of death."

I continued to listen as her husband David shared his part and path of the journey. He said that as they watched their daughter succumb after a three and a half year battle with the disease, his mind and heart screamed out to, "Why?" He said that the Lord never gave him an answer to that question. He said he felt it was because no answer would be good enough. And he was, is, right. We live in a world where inexplicable suffering can and does come upon us. Why did our loved one have to die? Why did our mate leave us, abandon us? Why did our ministry seem to fail, our job move end in disaster? Why? Why did You allow it? Why didn't you just DO SOMETHING? Really, what could He answer that would bring us any satisfaction? No, no answer would be good enough. We would still be left with the pain, the heartache, the brokenness. And to this all, Merrick said something very profound. He said that in that place of questioning, the Father brought to his heart the fourth verse of Psalm 23, that in the suffering, in the loss, in all the questions, His word to him, them, us, is, "I am with you." I am with you, and you will discover that that is more than enough.

Kate Merrick said that in her walk, she couldn't get past her grief, and in the midst of that grief, the Father also showed her the depth of her bitterness and anger. Of how, in the face of His promises of joy and hope, she found herself, just as Sarah did when God told her she would have a son in her old age, cynically laughing at the notion. We come to that place in the grief where we feel the same, that we'll never really laugh again, never know the fullness of joy in Him again. We can't get past it all....and we can't in ourselves.....but we can, and will, in Him.

Beth Moore said we can get past what we can't get over. No one gets over the loss of child, mate, or any of a host of life tragedies. There will always be that sense of loss, but we can get past it, we can live a life free of the moment of loss. We can laugh again, have the fullness of His joy again. It takes having what Merrick came to have, a defiant joy. A choice to allow all that He is and promises to be to enter into our suffering with us, walk with us, grieve with us, and move on with us in it. To laugh again in and with Him. We don't ever "get over it" but we are not held captive in that moment of loss....we move onto new joy and joys in Him. Defying all the emotions and the enemy who assaults us through them, and lay hold of His joy....and we overcome....and we laugh and live again in Him.

I have found, and continue to find, that I need that defiant joy in so many places in my life. Losses, disappointments, the unexpected broken places that come to us all, I need to have a defiant heart towards all that seeks to rob me of His joy, to rob me of the sense of His Presence. To know that in darkest valley of death, He is with me....and He will take me through. He will take you through as well. He ministers, He heals, and He restores our joy. Joy that we defy the world and the devil to steal from us. Where do you need that defiant joy today? He gives it...even in the valley of death.

Blessings,
Pastor O

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