Written By Gwen Mlondobozi
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
'Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising that shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.'
The difficult journeys in life have a way of taking joy from us. Sometimes that which laid heavily on us, when lifted, leaves us with lowered shoulders, a bowed head, and a sad heart for what we've lost. I think life has moments that bring us to our knees, sobbing, kicking, and screaming. But, like all things in life, those moments do have an end, and maybe, just maybe joy cometh in the morning.
Dusty roads have great moments and beautiful treasures. They are not as clear and straightforward as tarred roads and there is mystery and uncertainty to them. They can be bumpy and uncertain, yet we take those roads because where we are going makes the journey worthwhile. Such is life. Even when we know that getting to a beautiful holiday destination will be taxing, we still choose to go; enduring the long drives, long flights, and weird conversations along the way... for the joy set before us.
I have a bad habit of never stopping to celebrate. I often move from one journey to the next without lifting my head to see how far the Lord has brought me. I go and keep going and never take in the scenery; 'the flowers that grow, the birds that sing, the water that flows'. I have endured so long that I often miss the joy set before me and, in doing so, I have also missed God himself. Jesus came so that I may have life and life in abundance. I have missed that even; walked past it pridefully thinking that my pain and suffering meant more to God than my joy. To make things worst, my wallowing – if that's what I can call it - has made me ungrateful and that is not a heart after God.
'Storms never come to stay they just show us, how bad we need each other.' - Marc Scibilia.
Life on a normal day is a scary monster and it's hard to face alone. I come from a BIG family. It has its difficulties, but the one thing I can honestly say is that I am so privileged to have them. Every time I am with family I am reminded of how much we need each other. My family has taught me to laugh in the face of adversity because even when walking through a dusty road, there are still reasons to be thankful. As I reflect, I see that there is one thing I will always be thankful for - my family.
'So, Lord, thank you for this 'itsy bitsy' life, for the dusty roads and the joy and the end of each road that I have missed because my head was lowered and not looking up to you. Forgive me for taking pride in my pain and choosing to walk away from joy itself. Amen. '
I have no idea where your dusty road is taking you, dear friend. But this I know, even when we do not see it, there is at least one thing along your path that you can be thankful for - even if it is merely your next breath. Remember that joy is not for the elite, or the special; it's for you too! Because He was not hung up on a cross so that you could be hung up on your sin and pain. He came that you may have life and life in abundance. The enemy - he came to steal, to steal even that which you feel is out of your reach, like your joy.
So smile, laugh even. If it is unfamiliar and you haven't ventured on the path of joy in a long time, do it. It is so easy to forget to celebrate and be thankful after life has dealt us its hard knocks. Lift those shoulders and look up….