Surprising joy in the midst of suffering, eh? Surprise, indeed!
I think that all of us have suffered through something that sidetracked us and made us lose our focus. Maybe you are in such a circumstance right now. If so, joy likely seems far from attainable. Yet in 1 Peter 4:12-19, Peter expresses an attitude of joy even in the middle of intense persecution. Why? Can he not see? Does he not care? On the contrary, Peter's joy is not circumstantial. Better yet, his physical circumstances are not the source of his joy. There is something much deeper that He can see and experience.
During the turmoil of daily living and the painful storms that life can throw at us, there are truths at work that DO NOT CHANGE. In Peter's case, his very life was being threatened but his joy was not hinged on this life at all.
Pastor Del has spoken many times about our identity in Christ. In my personal life, God is pushing the subject of joy into the very forefront. It seems as though these are two different subjects, but joy is actually the result of our understanding of who we are in Christ. This is what couldn't knock Peter of his soapbox, and this is what I'd like to focus on this Sunday morning.
As you prepare, I have linked a video I'd like you to watch. I think that it will begin to spark an excitement that we can throw some kindling on during our worship service. Although I am not giving you scriptures to look up, this video has so much meat (truth) in 7 minutes, it will give you a great discussion with God over the next few days.
Enjoy! I think that may be God's desire for us.