The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.// Acts 13:52
I used to read about the joy of the Apostles and wonder if that deep joy was possible for me, too. They were lucky enough to know Jesus, I thought, and the saints who didn’t know Jesus personally had great miracles worked in their lives. Of course they’re joyful. This joy of the Holy Spirit seemed distant in time, almost unreal.
Also this thought ran through my mind: What is joy anyway?
Then a more scoffing thought followed with doubt, How can anyone actually be joyful under persecution? And if persecution is part of the Christian life . . . I’m on the fence about living that life. I’m not sure I can handle that, so will I ever be a saint?!
This Christian life is a bit of a mixed-bag, wouldn’t you say? Rich stories of miracles and forgiveness, and promises of eternal joy in Heaven mingle with lived experiences of suffering, persecution, and even doubts. Heaven often seems distant.
Today we continue to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection in the liturgy. I’ve lived Easter seasons that felt more “Lenty” than joyful, whether my children were ill, my husband was deployed, or some other struggle threatened my peace. Perhaps this year you, too, endured struggles which tempt you to wonder if joy is possible, let alone real.
But the joy of the Resurrection is for you, especially today. During this season characterized “by the joy of glorified life and the victory over death,” (reference) we rejoice that Jesus Christ is ALIVE and with us. We rejoice that these struggles don’t have the final say because Jesus won.
Jesus won for me and for you. I’ve leaned into His promise and the hope that Heaven is real, that His love is real. He has sustained me through trials and wiped away my tears (Revelation 7:17). This is possible for you, too! He loves us so and holds us in His saving hands (John 10:28).
Let us pray together today that we’ll rest in Jesus’ love, in His hands. This is where joy originates, and this is the joy that sustains us. Christian joy comes from placing ourselves in the hands of the Lord Who loves us and shepherds us every moment.Joy is for you. // Gina Fensterer Click To Tweet