Thursday evening, Hannah and I continue our reading and discussion of the Gospel of John, and we come to this:
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and YOUR JOY NO MAN TAKETH FROM YOU. (John 16:22, emphasis added)
I am truly grateful for the times that my daughter and I spend together digging in the Word and sharing each other’s thoughts. These are precious motherhood moments, ones that help my daughter understand and grapple with the challenges of teenage life and help shape her future. But foremost, I am thankful that we have known the Lord Jesus – walking this earthly journey in His love, guidance, and protection.
My thoughts are especially geared towards these things as news about two teenage boys (13 and 16 years old) fills the headlines. It was allegedly a crime of passion: the younger boy shooting the older boy, then shooting himself afterwards. It all happened inside a shopping mall. These two youngsters were both rushed to the hospital, but both perished a few days later.
In a TV interview, the mother of the younger expressed remorse regarding her failure in spending more time with her son due to her busyness with her business in her desire to provide more for her family.
It is truly saddening to see such young lives wasted. If one doesn’t know and hasn’t been taught the source of true joy, it is really easy to lose it all, even life itself. This – not knowing where to draw true and enduring happiness – does not only happen to teenagers, but it happens to people of all ages and walks of life.
When we depend our happiness entirely with people and things, and when these go away or vanish, our happiness, and all our joy, flies away with them. But a life in the Lord Jesus Christ – there’s joy that can never be stolen or taken away. The joy that He will give – it remains, and no one can take it away.
The joy of God’s salvation – it endures, it stays, even in the midst of fierce storms. And it is that joy that we carry in our hearts – the assurance of eternal life abiding in us. Wherever we go, whatever we are faced with, there is deep rejoicing, even in tribulations, for we know that nothing can separate the redeemed from the love of Christ.
And I say these things to my daughter, gently probing her heart, wanting to know what’s in there. Is it the love, joy, and peace of the Lord? These good and perfect gifts given by the loving Father to His precious child through His Spirit? I ask her these questions, wanting to touch this tender heart of almost-eleven years old.
We talk about what happened to the two youngsters, and I remind her of our life in the Lord Jesus, how we treasure His gifts to us, and how we know without a doubt the great love the Lord has for us. And I know that her true joy comes from above, and she knows the love of God to be real in her life for it dwells in our family.
Yes, these things the Lord has spoken to us, that if we abide in His love, His joy may remain in us and that this joy may be full (John 15:10-11). Oh, I bow myself before our awesome, merciful God!
For those of you who are still searching, receive the joy that can never be stolen, the joy that only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
My friend, has your heart been bruised, beaten, broken? Have you lost your joy? Has someone or something stolen it from you? Turn to the Lord Jesus Christ today. His love never fails.
Below is a song that speaks of HOPE and JOY that can only come from continuing to trust in God. This song, He Restoreth My Soul (or Happy Again?), was birthed from a believer’s heart who had gone through heartbreaking trial.
The recording below was done by beloved Sister Annaliza Almeda-Smith, dear daughter of our beloved pastor, and Brother Willy Ballos of the Jesus Finest Generation Choir. I invite you to listen and be blessed.