"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

December 19, 2013

Take Hold Of Joy: Advent Dec. 19

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord!    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights."  -Habakkuk 3: 17-19

Even though...

God is always extending joy out to us.  But whether we take hold of it is our choice.

Even though times are hard.  Even though money is short.  Even though Christmas is less than a week away.  Even though bills keep piling up.  Even though the sickness is debilitating.  Even though all whom I've loved are gone.  Even though...

I get stuck there sometimes.  Submerged in that first part of "even though," incoherent to the part that contains the hope and joy.  There are days when I can see all that I have been blessed with, but if I sit down and be still for a few minutes, the panic starts to creep over me.  And then my perspective gets all out of whack.

And other times, I stand obstinate in the face of uncertainty, shouting "YOU WILL NOT STEAL MY JOY!"  It sounds more like "Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains.  And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains.  Glo-o-o-o-o-oria in excelsis deo.  Glo-o-o-o-o-oria in excelsis deo."  At the top of my lungs when no one is around.  At least that's how it sounded today.

Ann Voskamp says it wonderfully:
"The secret of joy is always a matter of focus: a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fears.  All fear is but the notion that God's love ends.  When does He ever end?" -from The Greatest Gift (p.189)

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