The casket shut tightly and with it my eyes. Dread hung thickly around each of us sitting in the church pews. In silence, we felt forever and nothing all at once. I remember thinking, I can’t believe I’m doing this. It was, after all, the day before my birthday. Grief was choking any sense of excitement I had. What I tried to tell myself, as I listened those around me grieve the death of grandfather, was “consider it all joy”.

It is difficult, in these tragic moments, to remember and believe that there is joy in the midst of everything. Joy isn’t a byproduct of our circumstances, it is rooted and grounded in the truth of God’s Word. Jesus told the disciples that their experiences in this world would not be devoid of trouble. His encouragement in the face of this stark reality is simple: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

Our joy is complete because we know that we are victorious in Christ Jesus because our Savior overcame the world we live in. If Jesus, the night of His betrayal and death sentence can speak of joy, sisters we can live joy in our darkest days.

When the casket shut at my grandfather’s funeral, I realized how important it is to plant the seed of joy in our life every single day. In the sad moments, we will need to see the fresh flowers of joy that God has to offer us. For me, in the midst of sadness, I saw joy in being with my family. I saw joy in God providing my family with the financial resources to fly to Indiana. I felt joy in connecting with my cousins more deeply. I was grounded in the truth that Jesus conquered the grave and one day, I will too!

Joy in the ashes, isn’t easy. It’s a matter of perspective. The more we try to see the joy, feel the joy the more abundantly we can walk in joy.

Today I pray you begin to ask God to show you joy, true unadulterated joy. It is possible. Jesus died for us to have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). We cannot allow the dust from the ashes to settle and we live empty hearted, hopeless lives. While we walk through affliction may we stop and see the joy of the Lord in full bloom.  

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