Even as we navigate a difficult year for our nation and world, we can experience joy and God's faithfulness.
I recently found some encouragement in Luke 10:20, and I discovered that Christ's words to the disciples hold great reassurance for us today.
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Here in Luke 10, Christ sends 72 disciples out before him to prepare the cities for his coming. He commanded them to go heal the sick and proclaim that the kingdom of God is coming soon. They accomplished this and returned to Jesus in awe of his power and what they had seen.
Many of us might be able to relate to the emotional high we have when we have a particularly powerful experience with God or have seen him work in someone's life. These disciples came back after healing people, casting out demons, and proclaiming the message that Jesus is coming. They shared with Jesus that even the demons submitted to them in his name.
What does this have to do with the situations our world is facing now?
It's Jesus' answer that hits home for me. Jesus sets the foundation of joy for the disciples and for us. These disciples are in the highest emotional state they have ever experienced, but Jesus knows the struggles and challenges that lie ahead. Fear, persecution, torture, martyrdom will all be experienced by these disciples in one form or another. They are able to look back now, though, at this experience and realize that they have their foundation of joy in the fact that they have eternal life through Christ's finish work.
This year has not only brought challenges and losses throughout our world, but each of us has been affected one way or another by these things — the loss of loved ones, furloughed from jobs, disease, family strife, and turmoil among many other things. These situations shouldn't be minimized or dismissed, but we can hold onto the joy that is secured in Christ's finished work. Whether we find ourselves on the mountain top or down in the valley, our joy is secured to an unshakeable foundation.
Read more here:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Job 1:20-22, 2:9-10; Philippians 4:4-7; James 5:10-11