Seasons of suffering, "they" say, don't last forever. They give us a gentle hug and speak in comforting tones assuring us that all will be well. We smile, walk away and wonder just how long seasons last because it seems our circumstances have gone from bad to worse - with no end in sight. We've prayed. We've done all we know to do. We wait.
Morning after morning the familiar weight of worry and fear presses us into the bed. We struggle to put our feet on the floor and step into the day when all we really want to do is pull the covers over our head. We long for the miracle. We long for the season to turn from sorrow to joy and wonder if the Lord has heard our cry for help. We wait.
He speaks into the silence. "I am your joy." Just a whisper. No roll of thunder or flashes of lightning. No simple answer to all the questions. Not the miracle we had envisioned (because we have this perfect plan that would solve all the problems).
Instead He offers Himself - to be with us
to love us
to help us
and, yes, to work all things together for our good - in His time
Right in the middle of the difficult season, He is there. Right in the middle of worry and fear He gives peace, and we can find joy right in the middle of sorrow.
He has promised to turn our sorrow into dancing. In the meantime, He gives us joy.
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8
"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:18
"Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!" Habakkuk 3:17-19 MSG