joy 30 day devotional through the gospel of luke

Luke 7:11–17 (NLT) Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. 12 A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. 14 Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” 15 Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” 17 And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.

One morning about four months after Donna was killed, I was in my sister’s house alone.  The emptiness in my heart was accentuated as I wheeled my wheelchair around the empty house.  As I passed Roseann’s bedroom, I saw a beautiful, large picture of Donna on her wall.  I immediately burst into tears.  I laid my head forward on Roseann’s bed and wept as the sunshine drifted through the window and onto the back of my neck.

I desperately wanted the Lord to bring Donna back from the dead to fill the emptiness in my heart.  I looked up again at the picture of Donna with tears streaming down my face.  That’s when something profound happened.  I thought about Donna in heaven with her Lord.  I thought of the joy she was experiencing at that same moment I was experiencing grief.  It hit me that if I truly loved her, I wouldn’t want her to leave the glory of heaven to return to me and the kids.

As I meditated on Donna in heaven I was filled with joy.  I was blessed with the thought that she was free from the pain and struggle of this world and in the glory of God at that very moment.  Although my distress would go on for months, this was a turning point on my journey through grief.

No parent should ever have to bury a son or daughter.  My heart goes out to any of you who have experienced the loss of a child.  I can imagine the grief of this poor widow.  And in the culture of 1st century Israel, it was even worse.  This lady had no husband and now her only son was gone.  This young man was not only her beloved son, but he was her future security and provider.  She lost her husband, her son, and now also any means of income in her old age.  Devastating!

But then Jesus came along!  How I wish people would understand this truth: But Jesus!  He makes all the difference.  He can provide comfort.  He can heal any wound.  He is your “refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

This lady found “But Jesus!” to be true for her.  In this case, Jesus raised her son from the dead.  In your case He will not do that, but Jesus will make all the difference in your time of trouble.  Lean on Him.  Receive supernatural comfort and peace and even joy in the darkest times of life.

So What?  PRAY:  Whatever your burden is right now, lay it down before Jesus.  Change your thoughts from your own pain to the glory of the Lord.  Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Write your prayer to the Lord.  Ask Him for strength, comfort, peace, and even joy as you journey through times of trouble.

Header Image © 2022 Onward Church