inexpressible joy

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“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8

Earlier this week I had two conversations that struck me. The first was with a woman who shared that her deepest encounter with Christ was in the grief of her and her husband’s miscarriage. The second was with a man who wept at the thought of his aging parents passing from this world into eternity.

I saw the pain and suffering in each of their eyes as one remembered the past and the other anticipated what’s to come. Although the depth of their suffering couldn’t be measured, it swept over me like a strong wind. I watched as their faces clenched tightly struggling to withhold their sobbing. The capacity of their hearts moved me.

The human soul in all of its beauty, clinging to hope and trusting in love.

I didn’t say anything. 

I chose to let them breathe and weep and feel the peace of the Holy Spirit wash over their tears. Each of them, in their own way, embodied the fragility of life, the promise of heaven, and the inexpressible joy of loving Christ.

How do we make sense of what surpasses our understanding?

It’s an act of faith and a movement of love. We choose to believe in what we cannot see because Love himself has come to sweep us off of our feet. Through the highs and the lows, we let him love us, deeply. We open ourselves to Jesus, and he searches for the hidden crevices of our soul to redeem every hindered part of us.

What happened next struck me the most. I saw the strength of their faith overcome the threats of the enemy. Loneliness, despair, fear, and anxiety bow in the presence of our all powerful God who has come to turn our mourning into dancing.

And we worship him.

We worship him by receiving him. In receiving him, we rejoice in the remedy of his touch. We are encountered by the living God.

The man and woman, each in their own way, encountered Christ. They had received his promise of peace which overcomes anxiety and silences fear. In the middle of their struggle to comprehend loss and mortality, they found the only answer that makes sense: Jesus.

They allowed themselves to be consumed by his all-powerful love. A small foretaste of heaven. It’s the simple truth that the very thought of meeting Jesus face-to-face lifts us up, out of the grave, and into the canopy of his everlasting peace. And this is what I saw in the man and woman who let their hearts be received.

The promise of heaven stirs the heart to rejoice in faith.

“Jesus is a name of peace which calms all storms. A name of light which illuminates the nights of the spirit. A name which embraces and consoles…A name which penetrates even to the inner recesses of hearts and purifies them. A name of glory and splendor. A name that tastes of heaven.” – Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

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