BY REV. DORAL PULLEY, Today’s Church Tampa Bay
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
Joy is more than a feeling of happiness about things going well in your life. Joy is the demonstration of love even when you are experiencing loss. Loss is a normal part of the human experience from the womb to the tomb. As a baby you lose the need for diapers and bottle and as a child you lost teeth. Every day your body loses skin cells. Perhaps you have felt the loss of a job, relationship, or possession. When you lose things in your life, there are often feelings attached to those losses that appear to prevent us from receiving the joy that is our God given birthright. It is natural to cry when you experience a loss. It is a demonstration of your divine nature that seeks and finds God’s love in the midst sorrow. You reign over the feeling of loss in your life by discovering and choosing to focus on God’s love. God’s pure love always leads you back to joy.
Jesus, our Wayshower, loved the sibling trio of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Their home in Bethany was a refuge for him from the demands of ministry. His friendship with them gave him the balance that he needed in his life. Due to other responsibilities, Jesus was not able to heal Lazarus when he was sick, and he did not arrive to the family home until four days after Lazarus’ transition (John 11:1-45). In their grief of the loss of their brother, Mary and Martha focused on Jesus’ absence and late arrival. Although Jesus wept and was dealing with his own grief over the loss of his friend, he chose to be loving and supportive to Lazarus’ sisters. He focused on the present moment and met the current need which transformed the climate from sorrow to joy.
Joy is inside of you. It is the Fruit of the Spirit which is a part of who you are as a son/daughter of God. You have complete and total access to joy at every moment of your journey. To get through the sorrow of the loss and access joy, close your eyes and take a deep breath and connect with Spirit within. Connecting with the God within allows you to move through your grief and get in touch with the joy because it shifts your attention from what you lost to what you gained.
Reflection Question – What losses were challenging for you to move past to get to a state of joy? Reflect on the situation to discover what you gained from the loss.
Stillness and Silence Activity – For 5 minutes create an atmosphere of stillness and silence. Turn off the internal and external noise. Quiet your mind and your body. Focus on your breath and inhale joy and exhale sorrow.
Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Today’s Church Tampa Bay, 940 5th Ave. S, St. Petersburg (Staybridge Suites) and 5107 North Central Ave., Tampa.