John Piper in his book, A Godward Life, tells of an afternoon he spent with Josef Tson, a Romanian pastor who was persecuted severely by the Communists. One topic they discussed was having joy in the midst of suffering.
Tson told about one day when the Communists came into his house and confiscated almost all of his books. (I can’t think of a worse tragedy for a pastor). The soldiers needed proof that they were getting his books from him, so they made him sit at a table and write in each book that they found it in his house, while they took pictures of him doing this. At one point in this process, Tson took down a book whose title was, “Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory,” with the subtitle, “Is This Your Experience NOW?” For a pastor to lose his books is not something that would make you want to rejoice.
But as he read the title, Tson asked himself that question and at that moment was flooded with great joy in the Holy Spirit. He lost his anger and fear and told his wife to get the soldiers some coffee. Later that week he had to preach. His congregation knew that he had been stripped of his books and had been harassed daily by the officials so that he had no time to prepare a sermon. He spoke that day on Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” One man in the church was so overwhelmed with the sheer force of Tson’s joy in the midst of suffering that he could not hear anything after the text. He was broken in his own heart and deeply changed.
May I ask you that question this morning. Are you experiencing “Joy unspeakable and full of glory” I’m convinced that if you begin praising the Lord by faith, the joy will come.
I love the Casting Crowns song that says “I will praise you in the storm … even when my heart is torn, … I’ll praise you in the storm.” As the world around us observes our joy, they will be drawn to the One who makes that possible. Jesus is our Joy – Giver and He deserves our highest praise.
Have a great week!
Don't forget this Wednesday, the 15th Parkway is having our Thanksgiving Dinner at 6:30 PM everyone is welcome!
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