Matthew 5:3-4 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” NIV
In my devotions this week, I relate how God returned Joy to my life in various ways: friendship, travel, nature, giving to others, and having a purpose. There are so many ways to experience the rich life God has intended for us and I pray these words of mine will help others who are seeking Joy in their life.
I have gained a new perspective on joy this year as I mourn the loss of my husband of forty-nine years. Initially, I was unsure of myself, my purpose, and my future. I was extremely unhappy. It took several months for the fog, so common after a death, to lift. Gradually, however, I began to feel God’s comforting presence as he pulled me out of deep mourning to a place where I could function more normally. I know he was with me before I became aware of His presence, but I was too numb to feel Him beside me.
Over time, I noticed messages of Joy in several ways. First, God taught me the difference between Joy and mere happiness. We are happy when our favorite team wins or when a recipe turns out just right. Happiness is dependent upon circumstances, and by all measures I had little reason to be happy in the early days of my loss. Joy, however, is not dependent upon circumstances. It is the deep feeling of peace we feel in knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. No matter what is happening to us externally, Jesus is constant in our lives. He loves us unconditionally.
When I realized that God was always present and ready to help me forge a new path for my life, I began to live again. I found Joy all around me – in the crisp fall air, the laughter of a child, and even mundane tasks. I was no longer a captive of death. God showed me that I have a purpose and a lot of love to share. I can’t imagine going through the loss of a loved one without God. He truly is my Rock and my Redeemer.