devotion from Standing Firm JOY
"Be joyful always."
1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Joy? I should have joy in the midst of my failing marriage? My husband has left the kids
and me, the bills are piling up unpaid, the car broke down, the roof leaks, I just lost my
job and I am to be joyful?
You are joking, right? I am feeling a lot of things but joy is not one of them!"
Joy was a struggle for me when I faced the breakup of my marriage and family. I was the
preverbal "fat, dumb and happy" spouse when my husband announced unemotionally, "I
want a divorce." I felt as if a giant force beyond my control was sucking the very life-blood
out of me. I felt like the floor beneath my feet had given way and I was tumbling endlessly
through space. Fear and terror racked my senses. I felt as if my husband had delivered a
severe blow to my solar plexus, knocking the wind right out of me. No, joy was not one of
the emotions I was experiencing.
"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
It was only through time, prayer and a total surrendering of my life and marriage to the
Lord, that I was again able to experience a little joy in my life. I poured over Scripture
looking for support and encouragement. I gave everything to God, my emotions, my
problems, my wife, my family and my future. I trusted everything to Him. In giving up my
"right" to control my life, I found great peace and yes, joy!
Problems were weighing me down but once I gave them over to the Lord, I could lift my
heart to heaven and experience joy for the first time in months.
"Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."
Do you see yourself as "God's servant?"
Do you view the stand for your marriage as a service to God?
If not, you should be. Through standing and abiding by God's commands to love your
spouse until death
separates (Rom. 7:2), you are acting as a servant of God.
When you view your stand as being a service to God, a gift, joy is the natural outgrowth of
this act of love for your Creator and Master.
God is pleased with a humble and obedient heart.
He will care for you, replacing the hurt and despair with incredible joy.
God's love for you is beyond compare!
That should fill you with joy, GREAT joy!
In spite of your shortcomings and failures, God will always love you.
Even if you were to turn your back on God and denounce Him, He would still love you.
Find comfort and joy in this knowledge...GOD LOVES YOU!
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence."
I hope you are spending time with God. You get to know someone intimately by spending
time with that person. In the beginnings of your relationship with your wife, you did
whatever you could to spend as much time as possible with her. God is no different. Spend
time with your creator. Get to know Him personally. Get comfortable sharing your greatest
needs and desires with Him. He wants to spend time with you. He has given you a love
letter in Sacred Scripture. Read it. Pray over it. Let His words sink into your mind and your
heart. Let Him teach you in the quiet moments of your time together. By doing so, He in
turn will fill you with joy in His presence. Bask in the light of His presence. He will renew
you and strengthen you.
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
Commit your way to the Lord. Walk in obedience to His commands. There is no greater joy
than doing the will of God. Nothing else will satisfy. I pray that you will learn this simple
truth of faith and I pray this also for your spouse. God has given you this life as a gift.
Embrace it, all of it, even the pain. Walk in His ways and He will give you joy, both now and
"The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart."
The Lord's way is always the right way. All other paths will lead to disappointment.
Walking in the way of the Lord leads one down the path to true joy in life. Embrace the way
of the cross. Unite yourself to
Christ. Share in His joy and reap the rewards of eternal life. In living a joy-filled life in the
midst of chaos and darkness, others will be attracted to you. They will want to know more
about what you have that they lack. Your spouse will see a difference in you. Let your light
shine brightly for all to see and be ready to explain the reason for your joy.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My
heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."
May the joy of the Lord strengthen you and encourage you. May it give you hope to
continue in your stand for your marriage. May it give you peace in the knowledge that God
is in control. God bless you, Brother.
"The joy of the Lord is your strength"