Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. — Philippians 4:4
Hard times come and in order to have joy you must be willing to be present to them and to feel the sorrow. Your capacity to feel the one is actually connected to your capacity to experience the other. The two are connected! ~ Stasi
Hey, friends! Are you ready for session five of the Unwavering: Living with Defiant Joy Online Bible Study? Last week we studied expectant hope… living through tough seasons remembering God’s goodness to us in the past and eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of His promises for our present and future. This week we’re talking about cultivating joy… Making the decision to plant, tend to, and reap joy in our lives no matter what our circumstances or what changes come. Let’s go!
Because of Jesus no matter what is going on in our lives we have every reason to be known as a people of deep hope and joy. ~ Stasi
“A great good is coming to thee.”
Change. Endings. Goodbyes. Usually, I hate ‘em. How about you?
My younger son will soon be off to Navy boot camp, starting five years of service to our country. And even though this is something I’ve known he’s wanted since we was a little boy, and I’ve prayed for this future for more than fifteen years, there’s still a sense of loss, of grief, and of melancholy mixed in with the joy and thanksgiving to God.
Loss. Hope. Grief. Prayers. They’re strange bedfellows, but isn’t it often the case that even the best of transitions is a mixed bag?
I am grateful beyond words that the Lord paved the way for my son to serve in the military and I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will be the making of him… making him into the man he could not be without this upcoming season of training and service. I know the Lord has already chosen strong male leadership (an area that has been a painfully gaping hole for him that has ached to be filled) — men who are capable of calling out the leader in him, strong men who will draw out the integrity, honor, strength, valor, courage, responsibility, humility, and honesty that I believe the Lord tattooed on his heart when he was just a small boy craving an important mission. I’m trusting most of all that the Lord will put leaders in his path who hold strong and living faith in Jesus Christ and who teach him how to be a fierce warrior in deployment but even moreso a faithful warrior in prayer and in the Word of God.
I know this is the fulfillment of so many promises the Lord made over the years, so many years spent praying for this wild-as-a-hurricane boy knowing that the Father loves him even more than I do has a good plan for his life. But, even now, there’s a lump in my throat.
It’s a strange blend of hot tears of celebration and of sadness, of joy and of bittersweetness.
Beauty and sadness always go together. ~ George MacDonald
In the midst of change and in the midst of goodbyes, God is calling me to live with an expectant heart, expectant of goodness, expectant that the best is yet to be, expectant that though I don’t know what is coming, He does, and He promises that He will be there with me in it. ~ Stasi
And, I know that these next years will be spent often on my knees praying for my son… knowing that spiritual steel is being forged in his heart and that a great good is coming.
This week in your study:
1. Watch the video for session five on our study home page or live with other participants … Take notes in your study guide on pages 81-83.
2. Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 84-87.
3. Read Chapters 9-10 in Defiant Joy.
4. Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 88-98.
5. Come to the watch party on Monday at 8pm CST.
6. Join the conversations in our private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You that even when the winds of change start blowing, our hope is You, not in our circumstances. Help us to remember that in sadness there is always beauty, in change there is always hope because of You. We trust You, Lord, and we love You, Jesus. Amen.