Discovering pleasure within the midst of grief – iBelieve Fact: A devotion for girls
Find joy in the midst of sadness
By: Chelsey DeMatteis
The king was overjoyed and gave the order to lift Daniel out of the cave. And when Daniel was lifted out of the cave, no wound was found on him because he had trusted in his god. – Daniel 6:23
I can still see the sunny sun shining through the windows on Sunday morning as I dressed to meet my friend for coffee. We met in front of the church every Sunday to talk about ministry, marriage, and all life. At this particular time of the year, I had difficulty getting pregnant. Unfortunately, I know that some of you know this season too well. You get the feeling that every TV commercial is about pregnancy tests, diapers and baby toys. Not to mention that every time you open a social media app on your phone, there is another announcement of birth or pregnancy.
That Sunday morning, as I bent down to take my jeans out of the drawer, I felt the Lord bravely put on my heart that my girlfriend was pregnant. My eyes filled with tears, my thoughts filled with questions and my heart mourned because someone else received the blessing for which I prayed.
My grief clouded all the joy that God had given me. I remember thinking in a strange way that I should be happy to thank God for his kindness to share this news with me before I went blind over a cup of coffee.
It is a difficult thing when you are in a time that is full of His blessings. Comfort, care, community, but you can't see any of them when your heart sinks into grief. I remember asking the Lord, "Why you and not me, why can't I be happy for everyone else, why can't I be happy with what I have?"
Asking these questions has created a crucial point on my path with Jesus. I realized that joy cannot be based on my circumstances. True joy from Christ comes from our relationship with Him, not from the circumstances in which He allowed us.
Daniel and his experience in the lion's den come to my mind when I think of someone who had a supernatural peace and joy in Christ. He could have easily allowed the grief of his situation to tarnish God's goodness. People who planned against him and then told him that he could not pray to his god for 30 days were then arrested for praying privately and were wrongly stuck in the lion's den. That sounds like a lot of sad events to me.
Now I'm not comparing myself to Daniel because one, I'm not him and two, my situation was not the size of his. BUT his life story in the Bible shows us how important it is to have a heart that trusts deeply in what God is doing, even if we cannot persecute His hands. Many people would have confirmed that Daniel felt abandoned, but Daniel knew that the Lord was working on it.
Since we live in a fallen world, we will surely be in places of pain. Hard, mourning seasons will unfortunately find their way on the pages of our history. Allowed and allowed, used forever, but never wanted by God for us. In the wise words of Lysa TerKerust: "It shouldn't be that way." God did not intend grief to plague our lives, but sin has made it what it is. Through His grace and mercy, He has given us a way to be freed from everything. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. I think it's great that in Daniel's story he doesn't stop praying when the law is passed not to pray to a god other than King Darius for 30 days. Enter the time of year you are in. Infertility, loss, alienated family, broken marriage, disobedient children, addiction crisis. Never stop praying, don't let this part of your life steal the gift that Christ gave you. Your life, this moment, this time of year is a testimony written by the Lord if you allow him to work in and through it.
Look at Daniel's story, it was King Darius who asked through the stone door, "Did your God, whom you serve constantly, save you from the lions?" Someone will absolutely ask you, "How did you do it?" "What did you hope for?" The Lord does not waste anything. He will give you a person with whom you can share his goodness, and because you have never stopped leaning against him, you can answer just like Daniel: "May the king live forever! My God sent his angel and closed their mouths to the lions. "
I am so grateful that God did not let this time of mourning out of my story, not only did he not miss it, but he joined me. He prepared my heart for a moment when I would have felt completely alone. I am so grateful that he allowed me to be in a place where I can find his gift of joy in grief. Finding joy in grief means trusting God's goodness no matter what the end looks like. A truly permanent, joyful life begins where we find it. If it's tied to people, places, things, and circumstances, it won't be long. But when it is tied to Christ and trusts His writing of history, it is planted deep in the depths of your soul.
You can find more of Chelsey on their website https://www.chelseydematteis.com/.
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