Have you Lost your Joy? (Writer's Opinion)
GROVE, OK (ANS - October 9, 2016) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance" - James 1:2-3 (NIV).
Rain pelted the windshield decreasing visibility. Strong winds forced me to keep both hands on the wheel. It was almost dark, and I was still 20 minutes from home. It's where I really wanted to be, not returning from setting up my book table for the next day's women's event.
In desperation, I cried out to God, "I don't want to do this anymore. I'm tired. I want to quit.
"What was wrong with me? I love writing, especially using my God-given gifts for His glory. I've been at it for over 10 years without a break. When you commit your plans to the Lord and He opens those doors, it's difficult to walk away, even when the flesh wants to give up.
God knew I needed to be there that Saturday, although I didn't-until later. My flesh was still rebelling the next morning when I reluctantly climbed out of bed, dragging myself through the routine of making myself presentable.
Arriving at the event venue, I learned the air conditioners weren't working properly. Oh great, I thought. It was going to climb into the 90s that day. We'd be baked alive inside the metal building.
Five speakers of various ages were on the agenda, along with a day set aside to worship the Lord in music. The conference opened with songs of praise and my heart responded to the joyful presence of the Holy Spirit. As each speaker shared her testimony, I was amazed, once again, to be renewed by the graciousness of our Creator God.
Christian theologian J.I. Packer once said, "We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.
"Before the day was over, I'd been renewed by the worship and testimony. I had discovered several reasons for my presence at the conference, including the opportunity to encourage other women. However, the testimony of the final speaker led me to tears. Several days before the conference, she confessed to crying out to God the very words I'd uttered the previous evening. "God, I don't want to do this anymore. I'm tired. I want to quit.
"With her confession, I realized I wasn't the only one who sometimes wanted to give up. Afterward, I shared with the speaker our similar responses, which we discussed. Later, I recalled the times that King David wanted to give up, even to the point of welcoming death. However, David also knew the source of His hope and joy.
In Psalm 16:11, David wrote, "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
"If you've lost your joy, turn to Jesus, the giver of joy.
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