Pastor Joy Full walked through her living room thinking about the paradox of her name. She had married John Full just before he left to go to Iraq. He was only there for two months when she got the official visit. He had been killed by a sniper in the line of duty. The ‘line of duty’ made it sound okay, but it wasn’t okay. In point of fact, nothing was okay.
She fell on the big leather chair that John had picked out before he deployed. She shook her head. Jesus was supposed to be enough, but right now, today, He was as distant as John’s memory. Once again, she spoke her name. Joy Full. Her name did not suggest who she had become. She should have been married John Less or John Empty, then things would have lined up with who she is today.
Her husband had been so full of life; so like his name. He loved the Lord with all His heart and he loved her passionately. It was some comfort to know that He was enjoying life with the Heavenly Father. It should have pulled her toward Father, but she hadn’t wanted to visit Him in the Throne Room lately. She held him responsible. How could He let this happen?
Joy knew that Father God didn’t cause John to die, but the Truth was not setting her free tonight. She was due at the church in an hour for the Tuesday night prayer meeting. The group spent more time talking about people than praying. She chided herself for not being a better leader. She knew the faithful would show up but she just could not face it. Sue Ellen had a key. She wouldn’t be missed.
She rubbed the arm of the brown leather chair. “I miss you, John.” She burst into tears! She picked up her jacket, threw a few things in a suitcase, stopped by the bank and took out $1000 leaving a small balance. After she had filled the car with gas she started driving. She didn’t know where she was going, but she was fleeing her home, the church, and the pain. She turned on the CD player. An old friend of the family, a pastor from her hometown, was teaching. She had always found his voice soothing. His Scripture was Proverbs 3:5, 6. It was her life verse.
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
As she drove, tears rolled down her cheeks. The ache in her heart, that she had ignored for these last two years, spread until she was sobbing uncontrollably. She pulled off at a rest area and parked a good distance from the other cars. She put the seat back and gave in. She screamed at God. “How could you? I have lived my life for you! How could you let this happen?” Joy gasped for air, “John loved you and he loved me. We served you!” The rant went on for some time. When she stopped, she listened but Father God was silent.
From complete exhaustion laid her head back and slept fitfully for thirty minutes. She resumed driving. Once she crossed the state line, she began to look for a place to spend the night and checked into a small roadside inn, paid in cash, and went straight to bed.
In the quiet of the morning, she saw the Gideon Bible on the night stand and she opened it. It fell to Proverbs 3. She smiled and breathed a sigh. Her heavenly Father was letting her know that He hadn’t forgotten her. “I know you heard me, Father,” she said.
She knelt on the floor by the bed and asked for permission to enter His Presence in the name of her big Brother, Jesus. She crawled upon her Heavenly Father’s lap and poured out her heart. She surrendered it all. She gave Him the pain, the rejection, the loneliness, the emptiness, and her broken heart. She told Him that she was sorry and that she knew that she would not heal until she gave up her right to this pain and the feeling that she was justified in holding on to it.
As she waited in His Presence, a sense of relief and joy began to fill her heart. She recognized the grace and mercy of the Father’s love flooding her very being. How foolish it had been to resist Him. She knew that she would always miss John but the miracle of God’s love and mercy had pulled the stinger out of the pain. She could release her hold on John and give him to the One who loves Him even more than she.
Pastor Joy Full felt God’s joy and for the first time in a long time, she was glad that John had blessed her with such a wonderful name.
Today’s Lesson: In real life, the issues sometimes take longer to resolve, but when we fully release that which holds us to our Abba Father, (Daddy), then He takes the pieces and puts them together and we find ourselves even more complete and whole. Joy is not the absence of suffering but the Presence of the Lord.
What holds you today? What is it that you feel justified in nursing and rehearsing over and over again. What is your private obsession?
Psalm 77:1 – 6
1I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
- His Presence is Our Present (chanteea.wordpress.com)