Rejoice! For most South Africans and the world, the year 2020 will go down in history as the year that we collectively faced the greatest challenge of our lives and livelihoods. We all had to overcome the greatest test ever when the terrible pandemic dismantled our norms.
I will remember that year as the year of my greatest pain, but also that of my greatest victory. The same year that brought loss in my life became the very year that placed a demand on me to step into my purpose. The truth is we are somehow grieving collectively, and we all have been crying out to the Lord for solace. Honestly, the post-pandemic world is still faced with so many uncertainties and we are all trying to find our feet in the ever-changing world.
More often than not, when faced with all manner of trials, we tend to lose our joy and the vision for our lives. It was out of the loss of my dear mother that I had to reintroduce joy back into my life and maintain the spirit of rejoicing, amid the pain. That terrible season of mourning left me with a dent in my faith and a bitter taste of life. Any loss has a way of pushing one away from the presence of God, especially if one does not attend to the wound in one’s soul that needs to be healed. That is why it is very important to be intentional about creating an atmosphere that will host the presence of God daily, no matter the season we may find ourselves in. The Berean Standard Bible translates Psalm 30 verse 5 so beautifully when it says, "For His anger is fleeting, but His favour lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning." In times of trouble, sorrow, or grief we need to know that the wrath that we may be facing is only momentary. Therefore, we need to have a great expectation of the new season that the word of God promises is yet to come.
God presents us with a powerful promise innate to this text that brings us hope for a more pleasant future. Although we may not be exempted from the challenges of life, scripture gives us hope that we will come out to the next season with more zeal. In John 16:33, Christ Jesus admonishes us that in this world we will face tribulations, but that should never be a reason for us to feel pushed away from the presence of God. Rather, we should hold on because we know that all the promises of God towards us are a definite yes! Likewise, when the psalmist declares that joy is coming in the morning, then our expectation in the middle of the night season should not be to coil back in fear and terror, but to have great expectations of the future. The promise we have received from the Lord should be our anchor and stable foundation. The truth is that the intimidating trouble will not have the power to derail us from the plan and purposes of God when we have our roots deep in our faith. The plan of God is still unfolding and His will for our lives continues to do so if we would not give up in the middle of the process.
Challenges are not a sign that God has left us; instead, we should have an aerial view that reflects the Kingdom principles regarding every challenge in life. The Bible, in Philippians 4:4 (NIV), declares, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" That is a decree every believer should hold dear. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that needs to be cultivated. It is the fruit of joy that will help us to conquer all things and be recognised as overcomers. God wants His children to be stable when under attack and to rejoice even in times of trial. In the garden of Gethsemane, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, faced the greatest trial. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that joy was His driving force that propelled Him to sit at the right hand of the Father. As it is with Christ, so it is true with us. Correspondingly, joy is the driving force that will help us become triumphant and the real image-bearers of kingdom ambassadors. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 tells us to rejoice at all times. When joy is your anchor, then trouble will cease, and the pains will be comforted by the Holy presence of God’s Spirit. It has been said that when you turn your eyes to the Lord, all other things will fade at the appearance of His glory. May this season of your life be filled with a time of rejoicing and having joy in the Lord, which is a well you’ll draw your strength from. Having joy cultivated in your life, as an evident fruit of the spirit, can cause you to become immovable and unshakable.
Out of the spirit of rejoicing we will break and nullify the lies of the enemy in our lives and stand victorious in the position God carved for us in the Body of Christ.
One thing I love about rejoicing in the Lord is that it invites God into our lives and creates an atmosphere that hosts His presence. And where God is, His glory covers everything. Sorrow and grief, distress and worry, cannot co-exist where joy and the spirit of rejoicing live. Psalm 22:3 (KJV) says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Let this scripture bring a reminder to us that God is with us and His presence will never leave us desolate. Determine in your heart that God is good and render unto Him the praises that are due to His name, and you will recognise that out of the abundance of your praise will flow joy unspeakable!
Women of Reverence welcomes our guest contributor Mpho Thulo.
Mpho J. Thulo is a South African born and a follower of Jesus Christ. She holds an International Diploma in Divinity. She is an author of her debut book, Called Out and a Magazine Column writer. She is passionate about writing inspirational articles and faith building blogs. Some of her work can be read from, Lady Rose Magazine, My Faith Magazine, Women of Reverence and Faith Daily Devotional.
She eagerly testifies how she encountered God, hoping to share the Good News with those who are on their quest to find spiritual wholeness using Biblical principles. Furthermore, her testimony can be read in Your New Life Journey (Real Deal Trust, 2017 & 2019), JOY! Digital Magazine (July, 2018) and has been aired on Turning Point International (TPI) via Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Africa. As part of her service to the Lord, Mpho teaches Bible Studies at her home church. She is the host of the Empowerment Sessions Podcast with Mpho and Guests, a podcast dedicated to empower listeners with real life stories. She aspires to continue writing articles and books that will resemble the lives of women and men who have overcome extreme difficulties to fulfill their calling and be delivered from all kinds of spiritual and physical bondages. Together with her husband, John, Mpho is committed to reaching the unreached and unchurched with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are parents of five children and make their home in East London, South Africa. When she is not pursuing her career endeavours, Mpho enjoys cooking, reading, going to the beach with the kids and spending quality time with her husband and the company of friends.