Finding Joy

I was reading a blog written by Ann Voskamp

and this particular paragraph

grasped my heart…

Written By Ann Voskamp…..

You can have every excuse — but let nothing excuse you from joy.

Excuses to avoid community can rightly excuse you from joy.

Why is it so hard to let people love you?

How do you let imperfect love get into your imperfect places?

How many times do I have to learn it — The shields you use to protect yourself can become the bars that imprison you alone.

There’s no other way to really live. Risking pain is the only way to risk really living — and the only other option is to live safe and dead.

I read it again and again

and it

slowly and sort of painfully

seeped into

the deepest part of me.

Her words, they began to penetrate my heart.

Am I ready to feel it?

Joy and Pain.

None of us, I don’t believe, would refuse to feel joy

but

she says they (joy and pain) are but two arteries of one heart

and this one heart pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.

Must we risk the pain to feel the joy?

As I began to meditate in prayerful thoughts about this question,

my mind went directly to the Man

who faced terrible pain, such agonizing pain.

Pain of every kind…

physical, mental and emotional.

He came to give us salvation and life more abundantly

but He did not escape pain!

So often in my prayer time, I find myself

explaining to the Lord why I find it so hard

to contain this joy

that His word speaks of.

It’s at the times I find it hard to be

 vulnerable enough

to risk the pain!

To risk the pain of

being hurt again,

risk being mocked and made fun of

and risk others thinking that I’m not

good enough, talented enough, spiritual enough

and the list goes on and on.

And then I read her words….

Risking pain is the only way to risk really living. ~Ann Voskamp

and I think….

Jesus risked it…

 He risked it all for you and I, He risked everything!

He not only risked it

But

He took our pain upon Himself and He gave His life!

He felt every bit of it, from the inside, out!

Matthew chapter 27

says that

the people chose to have Barabbas, a murderer, released back

into society

instead of allowing Jesus

to go free!

They would rather have a murder roaming their streets than Jesus!

He knows exactly what it’s like

to feel unwanted, even hated.

I believe that tops every excuse that I have.

I think about all of the times I have said

“but Lord, what if they choose someone else?”

The crowd chose

a murderer

to walk free in His place,

 because they wanted Jesus to be crucified so badly!

He knows what it’s like to have someone else

chosen instead of Him.

Then it says that they scourged Him!

I looked up the definition of scourge and it says this…

A means of inflicting severe suffering with a whip!

He suffered, He suffered severely!

In the same chapter of Matthew

it says…

And when they had platted a crown of thorns,

they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand:

and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him,

saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

 And they spit upon Him,

and took the reed, and smote Him on the head.

They were not only inflicting physical pain on Him

but they were

mocking Him openly,

in front of a crowd of people

causing Him to be humiliated and I’m sure He felt it….

Felt the

mental and emotional pain

as well as physical pain.

They spat on Him and laughed

as they mocked and

beat Him.

I have heard it preached many, many times about

the physical pain that He endured

for us and surely He did.

He took the sins of our world upon Himself

and suffered terribly in

our place!

 I don’t recall ever hearing about the mental

anguish and emotional bruises that He must have felt.

I suppose

that’s why I have always assumed that

He couldn’t

quite understand the hurt and pain

that I have felt so many times, on the inside me.

He was Flesh.

Just like you and I!

He not only felt

the physical pain…

I believe He felt

the hurt

with every beat of His

aching heart!

They mocked Him, spit upon Him

and laughed at Him

while they watched Him die.

 He endured it all for you and for me!

As He hung between heaven and earth on an old

heavy, wooden cross…

He was

beaten and bloody, mocked & humiliated.

He cried out…

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

He felt forsaken.

His lifeless body was put into a

cold, dark tomb.

But…

I’m so glad that His journey of pain

didn’t end there!

Matthew chapter 28

says

that as they came to look, an angel appeared and said to them

“Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

 He is not here: for He is risen!”

He was Victorious!

and

We can be too!

Jesus spoke these words in John 16:33

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

There are times in this life that we are going to experience pain.

Pain of all kinds

 physical, mental and emotional.

Even Jesus felt the pain of this life.

We can take our pain to Him in prayer and not allow ourselves to be bound by it!

Ann’s words are so true, she says that

the shields we use to protect ourselves can become the

bars that imprison us and cause us to be alone.

 

You can have every excuse — but let nothing excuse you from joy.

Are you ready to feel it?

 Joy and Pain!

There’s no other way to really live. Risking pain is the only way to risk really living — and the only other option is to live safe and dead. ~Ann Voskamp

Dear Lord

 I pray to you for every hurting heart

that may read these words.

We know that your heart was broken

and your body was beaten and crucified

to bring us salvation and to mend our brokeness.

There are times when we feel alone,

in those times

remind us Lord that

 You said in Your word that we are never forsaken.

You are always with us.

Even in our darkest hour, You are there!

 Lord, we cannot fix our own wounds, but You can.

You know exactly what our pain feels like, inside and out,

in every fashion, physical, mental and emotional, you have felt it all.

You are The Mender of our broken hearts

and The Healer of our pain.

We give all of our broken pieces to You

and we can rest in the assurance of knowing

that You alone

can make

something beautiful out of each us.

You can take our pain

and give us Joy

in it’s place.

You will

give unto us beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for our mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

so that we can be used for Your glory

and the building of Your kingdom.

Amen

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7 thoughts on “Finding Joy

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