For the last year and half, joy has often felt far away. I pushed my head above water, fought to hold tight to hope, but sometimes all around me I saw the the frustrations and struggles, my own inadequacies and failings. 

But joy is returning, and I feel the light breaking through again in my heart. My eyes, focused only on the darkness for awhile, are filling with glimpses of the light: 

– In the colors of the sunset outlining the mountains in the distance

– The simplest of meals, given in love

– My very favorite hot coffee with sweet milk, sipping slowly to memorize the flavor for the months I will have to do without

– Declaring Scripture over this land, out of a heart in which faith is taking root and growing 

– Air-conditioning, always a gift 

– Phone calls just to check in, just wanting us to know she is thinking of us and will miss us 

– Tears flowing as children knelt before parents, following Jesus’ example to wash feet and serve humbly and offer words of thanksgiving 

– Hearty bowls of noodles and pork and vegetables, hearts and tummies full 

– These words of promise: “I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord and there is no other. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. Open up the heavens and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the Lord, created them” (Isaiah 45:5-8). 

– And this, exactly when I needed it: “The Lord is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” 

The hard times come, there is no doubt. But God’s back is never turned to us, He will never abandon us. These words are not empty cliches meant to give false hope, but they point us to the Rock to which we cling through the good times and bad, when the moments of joy are few or many. He remains the constant thread when everything else threatens to unravel and in Him we rest. 

“Let us dare to test God’s resources….Let us ask Him to kindle in us and keep aflame that passion for the impossible that shall make us delight in it with Him, till the day when we see it transformed into a fact”. 

– Lilias Trotter 

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