I recently wrote some thoughts on the Christmas hymn/poem by Henry Longfellow. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day but I didn’t finish the thoughts he shared on the Truth of the matter. Yes, life may seem drear and sad and lost. BUT GOD… and THE BELLS do ring out Truth.
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, https://www.lyricsforchristmas.com/christmas-carols/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/
Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting World.
I just finished a book that I have been slowly working on all year. It was sent to me by Susie Larson because I commented on her webpage. Typically when I read a book slowly, like this, it’s because I am having trouble grasping the truth and I am not wanting to accept it. (ouch!) Thankfully, I am getting it. Read on!
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The title, itself brings curiosity. Defiant Joy. It almost seems an oxymoron. But defiance can be defined as a determination. We can determine to have joy in spite of the trials and sorrows, thus be defiant for joy.
Jeremiah placed this instruction smack dab in the middle of his lamenting to God about the devastation that Israel was struggling through. Recall this scripture with me…
15 Joy has left our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
16 The garlands have fallen from our heads.
Weep for us because we have sinned.
17 Our hearts are sick and weary,
and our eyes grow dim with tears.
18 For Jerusalem[c] is empty and desolate,
a place haunted by jackals.Lamentations 5:15-18, NLT, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=lamentations+5&version=NLT
By the time we get to the end of Jeremiah. We find him giving us hope, and beauty, and joy in the Lord.
They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
and all their sorrows will be gone.Jeremiah 31:!2 NLT; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+31:12&version=NLT
Realize Your Need for God
Our despair is really the Spirit wooing us, showing us our need for His Mercy. Suffering reminds us that we need the Lord. We can’t get along without keeping God in the forefront of our lives. When we get off of His path, the way gets dark and lonely.
God invites us to make a turn to the right. Set our compass back on the North Star (Jesus). Get our eyes on Him and allow Him to direct our lives. Then and only then will we begin to have Hope and Find Joy in this desperate world.
Expect His Joy to Flow in and through you
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible joy.1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+peter+1%3A8-9&version=NIV
It all depends on where our gaze is.
- When we are looking down, we see our feet and not the rising sun.
- When our hearts are heavy with doubt and fear, we “miss the wonder all around us“.
- When we look to Jesus we are lifted up.
- We receive His “courage to believe and the ability to wait on Him.“
Waiting in Hope; Defiant for Joy
In the missing, the aching and the desperate pain, we will not give in to devastation. #defiantjoy #pain #suffering #ancientpaths #grief @stasieldridge Click To Tweet
In the missing and the aching and the desparte pain, we will not give in to devastation. We are called to live. and eventually, miraculously, to live with joy.Defiant Joy, Sasi Eldredge, page 196
Don’t get bottled up in the struggle. The more we fight, the more we get entangled in the troubles of this life. We must remember how Paul said that we are pressed on every side be not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV). When we relax and lean into the arms of Jesus, He will carry us. When we look upward and breathe in His promises, we will realize all the joy that is coming and the inheritance we will soon gain.
My visible world may scream loss, but the victory cannot and will not be held back. And because of that, because life wins and has won already, because of all Jesus won for us, I – like you- can be diafiantly joyful. I will choose it. Join me.Stasi Eldredge, Defiant Joy, page 199
Be Defiant, Choose Joy with me.
Next Year Be Defiant
I am going to be defiant next year. I want to determine to follow the ancient paths of God. Won’t you join me? Sign up for the newsletter (below) to receive your free calendar of Scriptures for each day in January. Share your thoughts with a hashtag #ancientpaths
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.