“When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You’ll no longer be so full of questions. This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!"
John 16:21-24 (Message Paraphrase)
I always say it, I love when I get those good visuals to pull my life deep into the Word of God. A new baby, birth pains still a very real, raw, remembrance for me, a Rocky Mountain stream bubbling over smooth river rocks behind me, one little bean strapped tight to my heart and wrapped up in knitted sweater threads, the other doing his best to do everything in the exact way his Dad does (there's a sweet truth tucked in there, but for another time). A connection back into Creation that makes me want to hole up in a sweet cabin tucked away in her beauty and protection from the world.
It seems like that is the theme I hear from so many of my momma besties. Courage showing itself out the door because let's be honest, there are a lot of unknowns out there, and holing up with littles, coffee cups, Netflix, and the security of your own four walls settles well in the heart and hibernation season for momma bears.
Automobiles being pedaled into crowds, guns being misused in the harm of masses, not to mention the international level of terror threats that whisper themselves into our subconscious as they scroll themselves across the bottom of news broadcasts. The threat and thought stream is real, y'all. And yet, somehow, we are called to rise.
In the book of Isaiah there is a prophetic image and beckon given to Jerusalem: "Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned." That beckon resonates with every bit of motherhood written into my DNA. A reminder written thousands of years before any present-day church, city, concert, or crowded street knew the taste of terror, but one that tasted it in it's own culture and time period. A reminder that walking into market streets, today's Target Superstores, didn't, and still don't, have to be a story told in glances back over my shoulder, but in glances that invite the Holy Spirit to deliver a smile or sentence to a stranger that perhaps lifts fear and dissipates darkness inside them as well. Iron sharpening iron of sorts, the simultaneous building of courage in a ripple effect. Shake off the dust of enemy lies, and sit enthroned on the truth that our God is greater. Sit on the truth that light ACTUALLY dispels darkness, that the spiritual element to all of this is perhaps more real that the physical dimensions seen, and to not just nod our heads at all of this, but to BELIEVE the victory already won in them.
And so back to the visual in John 16. There is no doubt that the world steals our joy. The prince of darkness prowls like a lion. He seeks to devour. What more can you expect? I'll tell you. You can expect an intervention of justice, a turnover into truth, and a power of peace. You can expect that if you continue to ask, you will receive. Ask for peace in the presence of fear, and knowing and receiving said peace as the winning victor. Ask for joy because John declares that there will be a day in which your joy can no longer be taken from you. What would happen if we literally woke up and the first sentence that our lips tasted was "God, today I choose to live in Heaven's truth, a day closer to joy that can't be stolen, teach my mind to know it to be true." If it is anything close to the visual above, it will be some kind of stunning soul transformation. And that is in essence, the whole point of this crazy thing called faith after all, right?