Every year I pray and ask the Lord for my word for the subsequent twelve months. More often than not, it makes far more sense upon the completion of that season than when He first lays it on my heart. At the start of 2020 I was given the word, “joy.” And, as you can imagine, by March and April it was abundantly clear as to why.
“Definition: Joy means an intense, ecstatic, celebrative, and/or exultant happiness or pleasure. The biblical Greek term the apostle Paul wrote about in Galatians is chara: joy, cheer, gladness, or celebration.” The difference between joy and happiness is that joy is sustainable, it is a positioning of the heart. Joy seeks and finds the silver lining, it trusts the process, and abides in peace.
Joy is deep, abiding rest in the goodness and promises of God.
This past year has revealed to me where my faith needed to be shored up. Where I needed to press in. THAT I needed to press in. It was an opportunity to recognize that my soft American Christianity has never truly faced persecution. I have learned to embrace the smaller things, to laugh a little louder, to let go of anything not flourishing, and chase hard after every opportunity presented.
Trusting the process in the darkness of the season.
Taking a peek into 2021, I believe we are on the precipice of the single greatest global spiritual awakening since the first coming of Christ. And, most likely the deepest turmoil this country has seen since the Civil War. Perhaps ever. To count it all as joy, we must shift our gaze to an eternal perspective, no longer languishing in the luxury that is this life, but looking to those who truly have fought the good fight of faith and cherish the Word of God above their very lives. Recognizing that strength comes only through being tested, and hope is the result of freely engaging in this thing we call faith. Diving into the deep end regardless of the cost.
May you count 2020 as the year of joy. As a year of revelation. A year of shaking so that you can be rebuilt. Allow what has been lost to show you what has been gained. Engage in the new year recognizing that you are better prepared for what is ahead because of what you learned from what is behind. Choose to see every situation as an opportunity for the Lord to reveal to you what He is teaching you in that situation. Knowing that He brings ALL things to good for those who love Him and are called to His PURPOSE.
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