Hope Producing Joy
He greeted me warmly as I came into the restaurant for our meeting. As we sat down in a booth across for each other, I sensed he had something on his mind. Without any intro into the conversation he said, "Have you ever had a time when you just didn't feel joy; how do you find joy? It was a good question - a question he had been holding for a long time.
I whispered a prayer asking that the words I would say would come directly from The Lord! I could hear my friend was stuck in joylessness. How could I help get him unstuck? And then I remembered...in the movie of my mind it was two days after my husband died in 1990 of a heart attack. There had been no warning, no symptom to give us even a hint of a problem; he died suddenly one beautiful spring day. I woke up that specific morning still trying to grasp what had happened and I heard birds singing. I remember clearly wondering how it could be that the birds were still singing. Didn't they know the tragedy that had happened to my family? I wanted the music to stop! I wanted the world to stop! But the birds continued to sing louder and it seemed to me, with great joy.
I cried out to The Lord that the world was upside down and birds should not be singing in the midst of my circumstance. Then the thought came to me that the birds were not impacted by my circumstance. In fact, I remembered Matthew 10:29 - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." I was reminded that God was in charge of the sparrows and He was still in charge of me no matter the circumstances. I suddenly felt hope. Deep hope ... hope that produced joy. Joy that I wasn't alone. Joy that God's purposes would still be accomplished.
I smiled to my friend and began a conversation about a hope that produces joy!
Sometimes leaders can lose their joy because of the drain of a busy schedule, unmet expectations, or challenging relationships. Have you had a time in your life and leadership where joylessness overwhelmed you? If you are there today, will you remember the hope to which you have been called?
Written by Phyllis H. Hendry
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