Messages from Joy...
I find great joy in encouraging people. I may not always succeed in doing so, but in this day and age with so much heaviness and darkness people in general are walking through, I try not to miss an opportunity to speak words of life if the Lord gives them to me. I've had some writer's block the last couple weeks which has partly been because I haven't known what He wanted me to share. Today some nuggets finally came through, and one of them came with this picture. The cow on the left is Joy. I mentioned her a time or two in a past blog post, and shared the story of how her very existence carried a prophetic message. Well, Joy was supposed to have her first calf last spring...except she never did. Whether she wasn't pregnant at all, or she miscarried without my knowledge I have no idea. A dairy cow who doesn't get pregnant is not a very useful dairy cow, because birth is what causes milk production. It was entirely conceivable that Joy would end up as grassfed beef before ever being a dairy cow.
As the year progressed, there were other animals chosen for beef instead, and when we got to the last appointment of the year, we had to decide whether she and another heifer who didn't calve last spring had become pregnant this past summer or not, and whether they would be freezer beef or get another chance. Dad checked them himself and thought perhaps they weren't pregnant, but didn't feel confident enough to make the call without a vet. So thankfully the vet was able to come on short notice and he said they were both pregnant!
Genetically speaking (since fertility is a heritable trait), this is probably not the best plan for herd improvement to give these heifers another chance. But there are traits I like about them enough to take a chance. Besides that, I feel like prophetically speaking, Joy has a destiny yet to be fulfilled!
The implications of Joy the cow's story are, to me, unmistakable and also full of promise and hope. As 2021 began, most people hoped that the year ahead would be full of less fear, pain, darkness, and sadness than the year before. Who didn't hope that Joy was due to give birth after closing out 2020? Yet Joy's empty womb was what we found instead. In fact, some may have wondered whether Joy would even survive to see a new year. But here we are with new life (we believe) growing inside her, and the promise of a long-awaited birth in the spring!
I don't know what all you've endured in 2021, but if you've felt heavily burdened or downcast, may I offer you some hope? The God of the universe loves you, sees you, and has not forgotten about you. There is an enemy of God that is also our enemy, but there has already been a successful covert operation that stripped satan of what he thought was his certain victory. Jesus Christ the Son of God came to our world as a tiny baby born to a virgin, walked this earth as a man, offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins and shortcomings of the whole world, and satan thought he had won when Jesus died. What he didn't count on was the resurrection. Jesus didn't stay dead. And when Jesus defeated death, He also purchased our freedom from satan's tyranny! I don't believe that is only redeemable in the afterlife. Jesus told his disciples to pray that God's will should be done on earth as it is in heaven. Why would He tell his followers to ask for (and do) something that isn't possible? Something to ruminate on...
I am more and more convinced that one of satan's biggest ongoing ploys is trying to convince people that God isn't absolutely good. And with all of the suffering, destruction, and death so prevalent in the world, it's not a hard sell for many. The thing is, he's the father of lies.
I truly believe that joy on a grand scale is before us. Because God IS absolutely good, and the knowledge of His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). I don't know exactly when, I just believe it's coming, and maybe this year will surprise us with how incredible it will be! Until that happens, and as satan continues to work overtime to convince people they're still in bondage, you can CHOOSE joy. In my experience, when I start to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, the absolute best remedy is to strengthen myself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6). He has, knows, and is everything I truly need. And when He speaks to me, it brings life to my soul like nothing else! For me, the most meaningful way I sense the Lord speaking to me is through words. So this might come through reading the Bible and delving deeper into anything that stands out to me. It comes through considering the words of other believers who hear from the Lord. It comes through song lyrics. It might be different for you. Sometimes (like with Joy the cow), He tells things to my spirit through His creation. On the flip side, I know I have to be careful what I allow my eyes and ears to consume. It's one thing to be educated about current events (truthful reporting of current events is ideal of course!), but to consume anything designed to sell fear does not lead to one's freedom. Guard your gates! Finally, I am coming to realize how imperative it is to seek to see things from heaven's perspective. To see things as God sees them. How is that possible? Ask Jesus to take up residence in your heart if you haven't already. He in you makes that possible. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says "'who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." Hebrews 12:2 says it was because of the joy set before Jesus that He found endurance in the suffering of the cross. This present darkness is not the end of the story!
As you enter 2022, know that you have an absolutely good Father God who longs for you to share in His joy. There are promises yet to be fulfilled. "Arise, shine, for your light has come. And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." (Isaiah 60:1)