One of my favorite artists was Thomas Kinkade "The Painter of Light". Most of his paintings featured a scene, often a house, at dusk or dawn. The background would be hues of dark blues or purples and even black - the colors of night. And, then in the windows, with a slight stroke of golden white, he would make light appear; a warm, glowing, welcoming light. The scene would be serene, peaceful and would always bring a smile to my face.
Our lives are somewhat like those paintings. To say that my life has not been exactly easy these past several years would be an understatement. For a litany of the "plagues" you can read my post "Church Lady? I Think Not...". Suffice it to say that I have been through some very painful times...shades of night...dark blue, purple and even black. But, God in his wonderful mercy has dipped His paintbrush in golden white and layered the warm light of joy over my pain. Having had the darkness of pain, the light of joy shines out that much more brightly.
I believe that to experience true joy, you first have to experience pain.
It's like touching velvet after you have felt the cold touch of steel. The experience is that much richer. So many times I have wondered why terrible things happen. We live in a fallen, sinful world. I don't know about you, but I have been tempted at times to throw in the towel, but God says "Wait". Hold on and I will bring you joy that is beyond your wildest imagination.
Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
I believe that when I hold on through the pain and get to experience the joy that comes, I get a tiny glimpse of Heaven. We may endure many trials in this life, but the Bible promises that the joy of running into our Father's arms in Heaven will far surpass all the pain we have felt in this lifetime. This is our temporary home; our real home lies in Heaven.
Ultimately Joy begins with a choice - the choice to establish a genuine relationship with God and His Son. Joy does not depend on your circumstances, but on your relationship with God.
If I have nothing else in life, but Christ, I can be joyful. It may not be a laugh out loud kind of joy, but I know that He ultimately holds the paintbrush. In that I can have joy. But oh, when he brushes on that golden white hue...the joy makes my heart want to burst.
I have had one of those experiences lately. I am beyond happy to announce that the most wonderful man in the world has asked me to marry him. I simply cannot express my joy in words. That's how happy I am. I am humbled that God chose me to be the recipient of this man's love. I am made even so much more joyful because the light has been layered upon a backdrop of darkness. God has chosen to layer joy over pain in my life and I am forever grateful!!
From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another. (John 1:16)
Thank you for letting me ramble on this morning...and for sharing in my joy. God is weaving a beautiful tapestry with our lives and in it are shades of dark and shades of light, but in the end it makes a beautiful and complete work of art. If you are in the dark hues right now, I encourage you to hold on because God is not finished painting or weaving yet. Know that you are loved beyond comprehension! God will not forsake you...he has never forsaken me. Be encouraged friend!