Editorial -- By: Richard L. Mayhue
TMSJ 17:2 (Fall 2006) p. 137
A dear pastor friend recently wrote these candid comments to me.
I am presently looking for a second job in order to offset the possibility that the church might not be able to pay my salary in the near future. It is the most soul-destroying, wearisome activity I have ever endured. But it has given me a remarkable insight into the financial pressures and discouragements of men who cannot find work or are underemployed.
Please pray for the church and its growth. Please pray for me; Satan regularly overwhelms me with fears and discouragement. And, taking God out of the equation, his fears and discouragements are perfectly logical. I do not know when I last had a full night’s sleep without waking up in the midst of one of these satanic attacks. It has worked out for good, however, in that I have learned the value of incessant supplication before God’s throne, even though much of that time occurs when I would rather be sleeping.
Though I could not change the pastor’s circumstances, I did pray for him—especially that the joy of the Lord would be his in full measure. This provision of God’s Spirit will overcome the worst of “bad times” in the ministry.
Thankfully, joy is an all-season response to life. Even in the dark times, sorrow enlarges the capacity of the heart for joy. Like a diamond whose radiance is enhanced when seen against a black background, true spiritual joy shines brightest against the darkness of trials, tragedies, and testing. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (Jas 1:2).
Christ commanded rejoicing even in times of spiritual persecution (Matt 5:12). The disciples rejoiced that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for Christ’s name (Acts 5:41). Paul exclaimed, “I am overflowing with joy in all our afflictions” (2 Cor 7:4). Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb 12:2).
There is a divine joy, i.e., a communicable attribute of God (Neh 8:10; Matt 25:21, 23; John 15:11; 1 Thess 1:6), which through the ministry of His Holy Spirit He desires to reproduce as a hallmark of godliness in each of His children (Gal 5:22–23). As a cardinal Christian virtue, joy inv...
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