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OUR SOURCE OF TRUE JOY
There is a debate that happens annually around this time of year. It can be quite divisive, to be frank. The question is: how soon should one decorate for Christmas? Some people insist that a tree must go up on November 1, while others are adamant that Christmas should not encroach upon Thanksgiving. Interestingly, this year, some who are normally “after Thanksgiving” decorators are switching to “now” decorators. Wherever you fall on the calendar for Christmas and holiday cheer, the prevailing sentiment is that we all need more reasons to smile.
While I certainly appreciate the desire to focus on the “joy” of the holiday season (especially this year), I find true joy in what I have learned about God. Though there has been much testing, I can see that God is producing much fruit. As James says, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (1:2-3). I find joy, not in holiday decorations, but in knowing that God is working in me personally.
I also have been reminded that true joy is not found in my circumstances. The Apostle Paul is a great example of this. As he was imprisoned and chained to a Roman guard, he still found reason to rejoice. He wrote to the Philippians that regardless of what was happening, he could rejoice knowing that God was in control and working in all things (1:18-19). He knew that the gospel was going forth and that God was working even when things didn’t feel that great. Regardless of how unpleasant life may have felt this year, our circumstances should not dictate our joy.
I don’t know what the future may bring. We may still have great sorrow to face, but I take comfort in finding joy in Christ. I rejoice in knowing that while you and I see and know on a very limited level, God sees and knows all. He tells us in Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (55:8). All the plans and words of God will be fulfilled, and 2020 has been evidence of that. The gospel has been unhindered. Missionaries have still seen ministry prevail and continue. Chaff has been sifted. Hearts have been refined. The body of Christ across the world has seen a sweet time of growth and maturing. What joy!
Thank you for being a source of joy in sending the gospel around the world. I pray you will find joy in growth and in the Lord this year and next.
Hal S. Pope
IFM Executive Director
“...he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
COVID-19 & IFM
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