Email on February 25, 2007 – mom told me many things she endured and suffered as a child. It is safe to say that her biological father hated her and her mother was often cruel with her tongue. Mom said this about the way her mother treated her: “She would cut me with her tongue, and I can still hear some of the “sweet nothings” she would say to me. Who ever said ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ They never had such things said to them. It still hurts when I allow myself to think of them.”
But that was not mom’s path of life. I would say mom overflowed with joy. In fact, in that same email she wrote to me she said, “I guess I would rather start life the way I did, and finish it with such joy. My cup runs over.”
The apostle Paul had something to say about hope and joy. Romans 5 starts with “therefore.” When you see “therefore” you are to think about what came before and then apply that to living. Mom was justified by faith and knew she had peace with God. She knew she had access to the Father by faith in his grace. She looked forward to his glory. But it didn’t stop there. She knew her sufferings had purposes that she did not always understand. Those made her a person of endurance and it developed her character. That produced hope which caused her to have joy. Why? Because she knew and understood the grandness of God’s love. The love she did not get from her earthly mother she received in showers of love from above.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)
Do you want to have hope and joy? Then look at what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have done and are doing in your life. Mom almost always ended her letters and emails to me with these words: “Love, Joy, prayers Ma.”
If you doubt this, then consider what John Piper had to say about this very topic. Joy, love and hope are intertwined.