By: Broun Stacy, Director of Teaching & Equipping @ Grace Presbyterian Church
April 9, 2018
Heb. 10:32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Before honestly considering the claims of Christ, as a punk-15 year old I was convinced true and lasting joy could be found at the bottom of a bottle or in the embrace of a girlfriend. At the same time I knew plenty of moral-church-attending folks who occasionally talked about Jesus but not in a convincing or compelling way to my high-school ears. They might have quoted Ps 16:11 saying “in your presence there is fullness of joy” but it sounded hollow and landed dull on my already-hardened ears.
As Christ radically broke into my life and flipped everything I thought I knew upside-down entirely new categories opened up for me. I genuinely tasted that the Lord Jesus was good and there was nothing, not-one-thing, in all of Creation that can meekly resemble the joy of what it means to be in relationship with God. At the same time, that rugged incomparable, robust joy can endure and even miraculously multiply amidst tragic circumstances, dire pain, and real meaningful loss. Consider those mentioned in the Hebrews passage above: They had come into beautiful joyous relationship with Christ, and then almost immediately they are thrown into suffering, being publicly humiliated or humiliated through association. They had all their hard-earned money and property unjustly taken from them and shockingly they “accepted it joyfully” because they knew they had a better possession and an abiding eternal inheritance in Christ. That is the kind of joy that characterizes revival. That is the kind of joy that flips the paradigm of an on-looking world wondering what kind of Savior would instill that kind of longsuffering joy. May our hearts and minds joyously bubble over always in all our considerations on revival. That has to be a mark of true revival, God graciously sending His Spirit and marking His Church with lasting, deep, palpable joy.
Lord, if you desire to send revival to your church in Houston, may we your people, be marked by an unflattering, un-flinching, abounding joy and delight that cuts against so many of the glib portrayals of happiness. We want our joy to be infectious so that those from every tribe, nation, and tongue here in Houston might come to know you. May you give us thick-skin and joy-fueled hearts that can accept any trial or circumstance, suffering or plundering, that might come our way. Glorify your name in our city, for our joy unto Eternity. Amen.