Be Faithful in Hard Places….Joy is Coming

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him…. (Eph 2:6).

Every morning I ask God to search my heart to see what might lie there. I ask Him to search my heart for things like pride, fear, control, and anxiety. This morning when I asked the Lord what was in my heart I heard Him say, “joy.”
Joy has not been in my heart for a very long time. Instead, I have felt the weight of oppression, unbelief, and defeat. Yet, this morning I sensed joy; deep joy in my heart. Truly, He is a mighty God who can lift our lives from the pit as we hold fast to Him. We are not just lifted from the pit, but we are raised up with Christ in His resurrection life.
The other day I asked a friend to share with me about my strengths and weaknesses, one of the strengths she named that I had never considered was, “faithful in hard places.” Can I just be really honest? I hate being faithful in hard places because it is so painful. Yet, joy awaits us if we would hang on with hope. I get it, trust me, I don’t like the pain of waiting. In fact, at times, I despised it. Yet, I kept being reminded that, “the one who loves me obeys what I command.”
I don’t have this whole following Jesus thing figured out and I certainly don’t do it perfectly, but I believe what I am seeing in my life is the fruit of holding fast to Jesus in a very hard and dark season. What I truly believed about was held into the fire of testing. As I held fast to His promises He protected me and is purifying my heart for His good purposes.
Some seasons are for the pruning of our hearts. Is that painful? Yes, very much so, but as we hold fast, new fruit is coming. I’m telling you this because I’m experiencing it. There’s a new joy in my heart that wasn’t there before. There’s freedom from oppression. There’s a lightness in my soul that comes from the work of God in my life. It is new wine that the Father has lovingly pressed out of me. It’s a new joy that comes only from His heart to mine. Do I have all that I want? No, I do not, far from it, but I have everything I need in the Father’s love for me and truly, He is enough.
Lord, your love is so good. It is better than life. I am so undeserving of it. I’m such a different person than I was even a year ago. Thank you for your transformative work in my heart. Thank you for not giving up on me, but for being patient and full of grace and love. Lord, continue to grow me to be like you. Protect and grow my loved ones that they too might grow to be like you, in Jesus name, Amen.

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