That Your Joy May Be Full

That Your Joy May Be Full July 28, 2014

        Even as Gideon responds very well to treatment, much is at stake.  Howwill he respond spiritually?  Will he live?  Will he havedisabilities?  Will there be another generation?  I now realize thatmany good things I took for granted are uncertain, and much may be lost.
    I want to speak to you about sorrow, prayer, and joy. Please take encouragement from our experience.  You could look across ourauditorium and find others who have suffered more but the Apostle Paul used hisdifficulties to illustrate and encourage and that’s what I want to do.
    You, my brothers and sisters, have faithfully prayed andhelped in a very difficult time.  You have not prayed in vague terms butconcretely for spiritual good and physical healing.  There has beenconsiderable healing in answer to your prayers and Debi and I stand aware ofGod’s goodness and authority.
    This trial affects our thinking.  Losing my job was ablessing enabling me to spend time with Gideon in the hospital. 
    This trial is changing us.  I don’t believe that I wascasual about the spiritual life of our congregation and loved ones but I ammuch more focused now and I do not wish to go back to how I was. 
    This trial is putting us to the test.  Debi is livingout the godly, intentional pursuit of happiness she has taught.  My trustand my joy remain with God.  Just like the wedding vow of “For better, forworse” cautions, Jesus warned that we who follow him will have trouble in thislife.  But we didn’t make it to this point by our own power, so ask Godthat we would be full of faith and joy in him.
    What about the future of this church?  If God grantsour request, we will be called upon to face great challenges.  We hope to reachpeople with great needs and little knowledge of God.   We will beforced to go to God for endurance and wisdom or we will give up in the face ofthose needs.  So, even as I thank you and highlight your strongprayerfulness and kindness, I am also saying that our mission with Jesus willcall for yet more.
    “I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have greatpride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowingwith joy.” (2 Corinthians 7:4)