Last year my uncle died. He was jovial, fun and the life of the party. I was fortunate enough to be flown out for his funeral. I sat there and watched my uncles, his older brothers shed tears with a strange sense of disbelief that he went first and their baby brother was gone. My family told tales about the lovable and loving man who has left their lives. My mom spoke with tears in her voice but a smile on her face as she spoke of the things that made him who he was. There was a lot of pain but everyone knew something. My uncle was a pastor who desperately loved God. He was the kind of man who went into ministry with no need for ego only the desire for people to experience Jesus’ forgiveness. So as people experienced deep pain there was an odd sense of comfort in the room.

In Galatians the Apostle Paul talks about the results of the Holy Spirit in our lives. One of those things is joy. I heard a lot of people try to explain joy in my life and it never made any sense. It always sounded just like happiness but there’s always the point that it’s not happiness. That day at that funeral I remembered something I had come to understand. Joy is a comfort that comes from our security in Jesus. So many things are given in this life and it feels like a lot more are taken away. What my family realized is that nothing could change my uncle’s fate. He was with Jesus. That’s the amazing thing about joy. No one, nothing can take it away because ultimately I know I’m going to end up with Jesus. So even if the next 70 years of my life are absolute Hell I know I placed all my bets on him and he already won. I’ve got a guarantee for myself and everyone else who’s willing to go with him. It’s like Mel Gibson said “you can take our lives but you can never take our freedom.” My future is untouchable.

I think it’s important to shed tears and weep that’s what is great about joy. I’m still allowed to express my pain. At that funeral I cried with everyone else, handed tissues to my balling brother but I knew his future was secure and so is mine.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

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