Lent 2019 Day 17:
Jesus, Our Greatest Joy
In February, I finished the first draft of my thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing program. It was a 244-page document that felt nothing like birthing a child physically, but it felt like a spiritual birth. When I put the manuscript in the mail, I told the mail clerk to take care of my baby. I had planned on saying something cooler to end our conversation about what I was mailing. However, the moment she put the box on the stack mail in the big bin behind her, I felt like a part of me was leaving. I felt like a parent watching their child go off to college.
It reminded me of John 16:21, where Jesus says, “When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.”
Like writing my thesis, my walk with Christ has not been pain-free 100% of the time. There have been times when being a believer has been difficult. Yet, I continue in the joy in knowing that nothing can come between God and me. The joy of having God in my life supersedes any pain of being made into a disciple of Christ.
While writing about my life, including the painful parts, goes with my call to ministry as artist and theologian, I know that I am not the only one who has birthed some things in pain that has been erased by the joy of the end result. There are some things that God has birth in us and through us that require pain but also produce joy. As believers, we all have been through painful times as God has shaped us into vessels of clay for God’s glory.
Jesus has the most experience with this. This is the work that Jesus did on the cross. Jesus died the most painful death, all for the joy of having a relationship with us. Now, that is indeed some Good News.
Today, as you reflect, think of how God has turned the most painful parts of your life into joy and please always reflect on how Jesus took the most painful death and turned into joy on our behalf.