I was talking to one of my very dear friends yesterday and in conversation she was telling me how God has placed the word Joy in her path over and over. She is someone that I respect and admire so much for her spirit of love, faithfulness, hope, and joy as they all radiate out of her. Often times, God uses her to speak into my life and I was reflecting on our conversation and how God calls all of us to choose Joy even when it is hard.
As I am preparing to go back to Zambia, I thought about when I was there in 2008 (my second time to be at CampLife), and my Zambian partner gave me a Zambian name~ Chimwemwe~ which means Joy. I pray that I can exhibit the joy behind that Zambian name. As I think about the circumstances that the Zambian children and their families face daily, I see how so many of them choose to have joy in Christ, because if you look at what they have (physically and emotionally) there isn’t much to be joyful about. We have such a loving God that is faithful, compassionate, merciful, and wants His Joy to pour out of His children. The past three times that I have been to Zambia, I have seen how God is working to fill them with His love and joy. Satan wants to take away everything and at times does, but he cannot take away their JOY. Praise the Lord that He will so abundantly fill those who know Him with joy and love.
“Then Ezra told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold” Nehemiah 8:10
I see how blessed I am in my life, and my prayer is that God’s joy will truly shine through my life. I think of how gracefully Jesus gave his life for us when he could have easily taken another path, but what a sacrifice of love He freely gives. So many times I can allow Satan to use the little things to steal my joy. Something as simple as a flat tire, or burning dinner, but instead of losing my joy, I need to be thankful that I have a vehicle to get me from place to place and thankful that I have food to put on the table. I know there are many times when I don't and this is an area that I need to work on in myself.
Please pray with me for God’s Joy to abundantly fill the children’s hearts as well as mine. I will have more specific requests leading up to my departure for Zambia, but the biggest one right now is that Satan would not be able to become a stumbling block to the preparation that God is going to do in the hearts of the kids.
“Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth; Sing forth the honor and glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, How awesome and fearfully glorious are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power shall Your enemies submit themselves to you with feigned and reluctant obedience.” Psalm 66:1-3