Haiti Mission 2014 – Day 2 – The Joy of The Lord

Day 2 of our Haiti Mission is coming to an end. The party outside at Bamboula Beach is crazy. There’s probably a couple hundred people out there. The music is loud, and its been playing since 3 or 4 this afternoon (I kind of know how Manuel Noriega felt). The A/C in our room, and the generator in the back yard help to drown out the sound, but the beat goes on. Still, it adds to the sense of adventure, and the people are celebrating, and that’s a good thing.
Today we got to visit the orphanages that we have been working to support. We were greeted by familiar faces, welcomed with love, and blessed to see so many improvements since our visit last year. The children have grown. Some have moved on. There has been sorrow and pain, and there have been times of joy, and God’s gracious hand has provided all things in His wisdom and time.
Today was a day of joy. It was difficult, don’t get me wrong. Arriving at the Center for Help, where the memorial funds for Mark Sarchet have helped to radically transform a struggling facility into a place where children can grow and thrive – it was painful. We spent time in prayer, thanking God for His hand that has upheld us in the midst of loss and pain, and taking even that hardship and allowing such good to come through it. We played and laughed with the kids – I cant think of a better way to spend the day.
And as I said before, under the surface of everything we did today was a spirit of Joy. These kids have faced more at 8 and 9 than most of us will ever have to deal with in this life. And yet they are full of joy.
Maybe that’s why I needed to come back, to be reminded of the joy that should dwell in my heart. So often I struggle with an identity crisis: I know what Jesus says about who he is and what he has done for me, but I tend to forget what that really means. Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).
The “These Things” Jesus spoke of was His death for us, and His sending His Spirit to us to comfort us and give us strength. He has done all this – why? – that our joy may be full!
There is something terribly inconsistent in the joyless Christian. Christ came that we might know joy, and that our joy may be completed in Him. He was abundant with joy, deep in His heart there was a joy that drove Him. Hebrews shows us this when we read, “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).
When we trust in Christ for our salvation, when His Spirit moves in us and gives us life, we will know this lasting joy. It does not come ourselves, we don’t have to muster up a certain feeling. When we know and remember the truth of the Gospel, joy will prevail in our hearts. Joy is the work of the Holy Spirit within you, satisfying your soul in the presence of God – bringing delight in the inmost being.
Remember your catechism – What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!
SDG

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About reveds

Occupation: Pastor, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Lennox, SD Education: BS - Christian Education, Sterling College; MDiv. - Princeton Theological Seminary Family: Married, with Four children. Hobbies: Running (will someday run a marathon), Sci-Fi (especially Doctor Who and Sherlock), Theater, and anything else my kids will let me do.
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