Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. — Psalm 30:5
Because of Jesus, because of all that He has done and won for us, we can be unwaveringly, defiantly joyful. ~ Stasi Eldredge
Welcome to the Unwavering: Living with Defiant Joy Online Bible Study with our teacher and friend, Stasi Eldredge!
My name is Laurie McClure. In case we haven’t met before, I’m the editor at FaithGateway and one of your OBS leaders for Unwavering… I’m a Jesus lover, a single mother of five kids (three out of the nest, two at home), I grew up as a preacher’s kid, and I’m addicted to the beach, Perrier, yoga pants, and radical grace.
I’m so happy to be able to come alongside you for the next six weeks of this study.
How many people do you know are actively seeking happiness? Trying new hobbies, looking for new jobs, buying new clothes or homes or cars? Their eyes are always on the horizon looking for greener grass or something that they think would make them happy?
What do you think would make you happy?
It’s such an odd question and one that I rarely consider because
1) life moves so fast and
2) like everyone else, I have so many plates to keep spinning and
3) happiness is slippery and mercurial (up, down, up, down!), and
4) some hard things don’t look like they’ll ever not be hard things and that might rob my happiness so…
5) I don’t want to be disappointed.
It’s a dangerous question, right? Because “What do you think would make you happy?” immediately begs other questions: What if those things wouldn’t actually make me happy? Or what if that happiness isn’t enough like it wasn’t for Solomon in Ecclesiastes? What then?
We can’t hear the invitation of God if we’re so fixed on what we think needs to happen in order for us to be happy. ~ Stasi
I have a friend who would answer, “Getting married” and another who would answer “Not ever getting married again.” I know some would say, “Having a baby” and others who would say “Not having any more babies.” Some say a vacation would make them happy and some say they’d be much happier with a promotion at work. Isn’t it funny how our answers wildly differ depending on how we are wired and what our lives look like?
For me, my honest answer at this very moment involves things that are temporal, fluid, constantly changing, and definitely first-world issues. I would be happy with a little cottage on the beach to call my own. If I were thin. If I were better off financially. If I had a steak salad right now, cooked to perfection. That, my friends, would be some seriously epic happiness for today.
But, none of those material or mundane things can touch the richness and wealth of joy.
Joy is reserved for those who are connected to the life of God, who are tapping into His reservoir. Joy is rooted in God and in His Kingdom. ~ Stasi
As believers, we can choose joy no matter what our circumstances. That’s where the defiance comes in as Stasi will teach us.
Defiance – dissent, noncompliance, rebellion, disobedience
When it comes to the things that would destroy our souls, [defiance] is exactly the right response. ~ Stasi
This is our boot camp, friends. This is where we build out joy muscles… when the rollercoaster of life no longer can rob us of peace… or of the joy that Jesus came to bring us.
Joy is what sustains us. Joy is our strength. We can be resilient. We can be filled with the expectation of good things. And, we can possess joy even in the midst of the lamentations of our lives. ~ Stasi
Are you in a rough season right now? Is suffering wearing lines on your face? Does it seem like hardship will have the last say?
It’s not true, friend. Our lives can be weighed down with sorrow but then we will be lifted out of it again. Dark times can come and then slowly the sunlight of happiness will surprise us with its dawning. In the midst of it, we can have true, real, unshakable joy.
God laughs at the sneers of the enemy and stares suffering in the face and says, “You do not have the final word.” ~ Stasi
Sadness will not win because of Jesus. Even death will not win because of Jesus. Our joy-giver, the model of living through suffering with defiant joy is Jesus.
No matter what is swirling or going on in our lives, the eye of storm is joy. ~ Stasi
He is the final word.
Are you ready to get off the rollercoaster of circumstantial happiness? I am!
The answer is Jesus.
Joy is the heartbeat of Heaven. ~ Stasi
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session one on our study home page or live with other participants … Take notes in your study guide on pages 7-9.
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 10-14.
- Read Chapters 1-2 in Defiant Joy.
- Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 15-25.
- Watch parties on Mondays at 8pm CST.
- Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. We want to know You and love You more deeply. We want off the rollercoaster of circumstances and to walk hand-in-Hand with You no matter what is going on in our lives. Help us to walk in the joy You intended for us to live to the full! We love You. Amen.
Do you have prayer requests? How can we pray for you? There’s a place each week where you can submit your requests in the private Facebook group. Please submit them here and pray for others as they’re going through the study with you.