Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Read: [Meditate on the scripture of the week.]
Reflect: [Use this devotional thought for a moment of reflection. Today’s devotional is written by Romeo Salvador.]
A few years ago while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a picture I normally would just fly right past. It was a picture of a young boy lying in a hospital bed. As I looked more intently at the picture, I began to see so much more than a boy in a bed. I saw a frightened, little child unsure of the situation he found himself in.
I went on to read that he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma (an aggressive form of childhood cancer). And then, for some reason, I began picturing my son in his predicament. They both were close to the same age and even resembled each other. And that’s when I lost it. That’s when the questions started pouring in. How could something like this ever happen to a defenseless child? How on earth will his little heart manage the fear and worry associated with this monster inside of him? How will his family cope? Will he be ok?
Since that day, my family and I have grown close to that little boy and his family. His name is Alex Shabman, and he’s a warrior. The two years following Alex’s initial diagnosis, to be quite frank, were hell. He had to endure treatment after treatment, procedure after procedure, and surgery after surgery. To say he handled it all with an indomitable spirit would be an understatement. I’m elated to report that, as of today, there is no evidence of cancer in his body.
Whenever I struggle for perspective, I think of Alex and his family and what they’ve had endure. Their journey reminds me of the verse, “They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing” Psalm 126:5, AMP. What a counterintuitive thought – singing from pain and joy from tears.
I love how Talitha Arnold puts it.
“This is no jingle-bells joy bought with a swipe of a credit card. The seeds of this joy have been planted in sadness and watered with tears. This is the honest joy that often comes only after weeping has tarried the night.”
I think it’s safe to say we all desire joy and happiness. But do we welcome the process and formation required to produce that same joy and happiness? And when I say joy and happiness, I’m not talking about some fluffy, fleeting version but rather a version that is lasting, deep, and fulfilling at a soul level.
The Rescuer we wait for during this Advent season does His best work during the difficult times. It’s in the valley and the wilderness where He shows up. It’s in the desert where He reminds us that He is Emmanuel. It’s in our most painful moments where His peace is most available.
May we remember that, because of Jesus, our sadness will always have purpose, our hurt will always be a part of a larger story, our cries will always be heard, and our tears will never be in vain.
I encourage you to think of someone or a family whose joy has been sown from tears. Pick two ways to specifically bless them. Here are a few examples: Pray for them. Invite them over for dinner. Take them out for coffee. Buy them something small that would mean a lot to them. Whatever you do, bless them from your heart and don’t hesitate to go overboard!