Advent Week Three | Joy | God is Faithful
Rest: [Take a few moments of silence. Then slowly pray these words.]
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 | Psalm 126 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 | John 1:6-8, 19-28
Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection. Today’s devotional is written by Patrick Bass.]
“Yes, The Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalm 126:3, 5-6
If you’re like me, it’s easy to put my time and hard work into something that I see paying off. But, when my toil and effort seem to be getting me nowhere, or even propelling me backward…not so much. I haven’t lived a long time. But, what I’ve observed to be true is that the most important things in life are typically the hardest to sow.
If we are honest, each of us likely have several situations in our life this very moment in which we feel like we are fighting an uphill battle, planting into bad soil, or putting effort into something or someone that isn’t yielding the results we’d hoped for. I do. These situations are messy, unpredictable, life altering, heart wrenching, and appear impossible. They can feel defeating. They will steal your joy. Everyone’s situation is different. It may be a relationship, a marriage, a friend, an in-law, a job, a position in ministry, etc. But let’s be very blunt, most of us are probably to the point where the hope of extracting any kind of joy from these situations is slim to none. At this stage in the game, we have nothing left to sow, right? In the beginning, denial about the way things are, or just good ol’ optimism may have blown a gust of wind in our sails for a few more miles. But that wind could only carry us so far. Now, what do we do?
Strangely, our starting point can only be found in the past. “Yes, The Lord has done amazing things for us!” I know we can all think of a current situation where we are literally “planting in tears.” But, I’m also certain that we can recall a time where God unmistakably came through for us – where we received the harvest and it was plentiful. We knew in that moment it could only be an act of God. In the difficult times, we must remember God’s past mercies and look forward to His promises.
If our SMALL minds could only grasp these HUGE promises. 1) One day we WILL harvest with shouts of joy. 2) One day we WILL sing when what has been undone is put back together. Goin’ in cryin’, comin’ out laughing! It may be today. It may be in 5 years. It may be when Jesus returns for us. 3) “What joy!” we can have in the waiting as we remember what God has already done for us specifically. We don’t have to wait until our “harvest” comes to start singing and shouting for joy! We know God is faithful. We’ve seen it. We’ve felt it. We must remember it.
Respond: [Put your prayer into action throughout the day.]
Today, write down the ways that God has been faithful to you. Write them in a journal or make a memo in your phone. Keep this close for reference and ask God to give you the joy and the strength to be patient with the world as it happens around you. Let others notice that your joy is not dependent on your circumstances, but is completely drawn from your trust in a faithful God. That’s attractive. People want that. The world needs that.