I cannot tell you how many years sorrow filled my soul. Though I knew that Christ had saved me and because of His grace, one day I would be with Him. Yet, sorrow followed. So often that search for joy lead me down pathways searching for fleeting counterfeit joys. If only I could get this Christian walk right; then, maybe God would be pleased and bring me joy. But, alas, the harder I tried, the more often I failed. Then, I began to accept the tragedies as punishment for my own frailties. Little did I realize the truth; my sins past, present and future were already covered by the cross. So, like a dutiful little Christian; I carried my cross with great sorrow and darkness with only glimpses of light.
It was only a few short years after Pete’s death that I faced cancer. Deep in the depth of that darkness, I began to ask, “God, are you taking me home. I am tired, and the journey has been long.” Despite my desire to go home, I looked at my teenage sons and wept for them. When the chemotherapy was done, I then battled ulcerative colitis until the surgeons removed my colon. Again, my prayer remained the same. Once I recovered from the surgeries and began to recover from the havocs of high dose steroids, there was found a mass on my pancreas. Perhaps this time, He would take me home. Yet, all the biopsies showed no cancer. The mass was scars from an autoimmune pancreatitis. Somehow, I believed my only hope for joy would be to leave this world; but, God had other plans.
Over the course of the next few years laden with trials, God reached down to show me, He is my joy and my greatest treasure.
Light shone into darkness
As the years went by, God’s light of truth began to shine into my darkness and His joy overtook my sorrow. First, I came to the very end of me; as, I wrote A Broken and Contrite Heart. In that book, I confronted all my own vain searches for counterfeit joy and my false belief in retribution theology. God’s Grace shone forth with a brilliant light. Suddenly, I came to realize that God never intended me to carry my cross. He had carried it for me. Funny how grace allows one to sin less; because, of love. The Holy Spirit within me would guide me; as I kept my eyes on God.
Bathed in God’s Unconditional Love, I was strengthened and began to grow in the light of His word. Trials still came, and I still had a lot to learn; but, I could see Him clearer.
From Sorrow to Abiding, Steadfast Joy
Over the course of time, God began to teach me three foundational truths which transformed my life completely. My book, Abiding Steadfast Joy, outlines in great detail those three truths; along with the struggles I faced along the way to discovering them. With great vulnerability, I reveal the truth of my journey. Although, I cannot in one post tell you all; I do want to outline the three truths.
Truth #1: My Place
Hebrews 11:6 describes faith as knowing God IS and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God IS the great I AM. The omnipotent, omniscient, Almighty Creator of the Universe is Sovereignly in control. His perfect love will carry out all His plans and He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Nowhere in that does it say those who seek and get everything right; but, those who diligently seek Him. Neither does it say rewards with earthly treasure. If He is the greatest treasure, the only one who can bring being into our existence, and the only joy that can fulfill our soul; then, the reward is joy in Him. The joy found in Him is Steadfast and Abiding; never fleeting. No circumstance or trial can remove that joy once found.
TRUTH #2 PURPOSE
With John Chapter 17, we are told of our purpose on this earth. We were created that God might shower us with His Love (verse 23). As Jesus prayed, He declared, “thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” How could that be? God loves me with the same passion and love as He does His only begotten son? That is amazing! When I understand that, I want to obey and follow Him; knowing, whatever comes He has His best for me in it.
A second purpose is found in verse 13 where Jesus said, “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” We were created to be filled to the overflowing with His Joy.
The third purpose for which we were created was to share in His Glory as proclaimed in verse 22. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” When Jesus is able to take all the broken pieces of my life and let His light shine through me to another soul; He has shared a piece of His Glory with me. He does not need me to lead someone to Himself; but, when He graciously uses me to shine a light into their darkness, He has shared a piece of His Glory. What an act of Grace to this underserving servant!
Truth # 3: My Position (Identity) in Christ
We find the truth of our identity outlined in Ephesians Chapters 1-3. In Christ, I am God’s Blessed, Redeemed, Chosen, Beloved Child, heir of the Kingdom, Royal Servant by Choice, Saint by Declaration, Mighty Warrior, and New Creation, who is Enlightened and gifted for the ministry. Furthermore, I am united with other believers in the ministry. When I fully know my identity and embrace it, everything changes.
My journey has been a long one through the depths of darkness and sorrow. Beyond that, it is not over, and I am certain there are treacherous roads ahead. However, as long as I remember these truths; no river is to hard to cross or mountain too hard to climb. God has filled my heart with His Abiding, Steadfast Joy. Then, what is my task? Keep my eyes on Him; which, He has made easy by shining His light into my darkness. Another thing I know, it has been worth every tear and sorrow; just to know Him.
DO YOU KNOW CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR?
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior: I urge you to go to my page titled How to Be Saved by clicking on this link. Because there is nothing more important than this, I urge you to seek Him today.
OR ARE YOU IN OF NEED PRAYER?
You can find this and all my books on Amazon.com, search Effie Darlene Barba or click this link to be taken there
Recently released Books Available
A labor of love, this book provides you with 3 foundations of truth from the scripture which once known will provide you with abiding, steadfast joy. Undaunted by the storms of life; your joy will overflow.
Providing a foundation of faith and hope; even, as we see so much evil in the world and in our nation. With so much sorrow and despair, this book I wrote to guide you into discovering God’s Perfect Plan of love; amid this chaotic world filled with life’s storms.
You may click on the picture for more information on either of these books.
OTHER RESOURCES AVAILABLE
If you want to know more about other books I have written: You can read more about each one at: Book Resources.
©Effie Darlene Barba, 2017
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned except for my own books. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.