“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 (NLT)

The past few weeks I have had several conversations with people going through difficult times.

Each person is experiencing a time that would like to rob you of any joy, peace or knowledge of the Lord.

I have tried to be a good listener and to respond how I think the Lord would have me respond. What I have concluded is this world is not pleasant. Yes, the scenery and artistry of God is present everywhere in this world, but, living here is filled with troubles.

Each of us experience things that can tear our heart out. Sickness, cancer, death, isolation and loneliness can drive us to the brink of wondering where our God is and if he is actually listening or caring about us personally.

It is easy to look at the situation looming towards us. It is easy to say that there is no possible way that God could be in the midst of things. It can be easy to look at the world and what it holds and be disillusioned. Personally, I have done this. I have lost joy before, I have questioned and yelled at God.

What I learned is that God is big enough to yell at Him. He can take it. He, like the loving Father He is will allow us to scream, holler, yell, roll on the floor, pitch a fit, kick and fuss. He allows our tantrums, and again, like the good Father He is, He will gently pick us up and hold us.

The situations may not have passed, but He is watching over us. It could be days, weeks, months or years later and we look back and marvel that the Lord was in the midst of that season. Ever faithful, ever watching, ever caring.

Today was a day that would have liked to rob several people of their peace, it was an unsettling day. But, God. He was in the middle of it all. He was not distant. He was not taking a nap. He was not ignoring cries from hearts. He was in the center, watching and supporting.

This morning a young man in our church ran through the gates of Heaven and into the arms of a waiting Savior. As he rushed into Heaven, I know he was greeted by our Lord, His arms wide open and waiting to hug this man. He met him and greeted him with a “Welcome Home Son, I have been anxiously waiting for you.”

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NKJV)

This scripture has run through my mind this afternoon. The joy of our Lord is my strength. I do have the joy of the Lord. He gives it in abundance.

We may want to falter, and hesitate, and give up. Between the peace of God so freely given, and the joy of the Lord, which is our strength, there is nothing we cannot conquer. So, I will continue to have difficult conversations with friends. I will continue to pray how to respond. Most importantly, I will pray for them.

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