For the Joy

A couple years ago, I realized that I can tell how much my brain needs a break by the size of the DIY project I’m working on.

No project = I’m doing great. Medium project = I need to unwind. This week, I decided to build myself a writing cabin.

By myself.

I’m not sure why making something calms my mind and slows me down but, needless to say, I don’t have a lot to share in the form of devotional or teaching this week.

Which is why I’ve decided to share a testimony instead.

This past week as I dragged lumber through the forest, one thing became very clear—wood is heavy. Really heavy.

As I pushed and pulled my third load down a cliff, across a creek, and up a hill, I started seeing spots and rethinking my normal, “I can do this” mentality. I was breathing so hard I think I swallowed a few mosquitoes and my muscles were screaming. Afterward, I didn’t want to do anything but sit.

Sit and think.

Maybe that’s how DIY helps my mind calm because carrying that wood got me to thinking about Jesus. About how the cross was so heavy that Simon of Cyrene had to help him carry the load.

At any point, I could have stopped carrying lumber. I don’t have to build this project. Really, at any point Jesus could have stopped. He didn’t have to climb that hill. But—even when the load got so heavy that he couldn’t physically drag his own cross—he never stopped.

At any point Jesus could have stopped. He didn’t have to climb that hill. But—even when the load got so heavy that he couldn’t physically drag his own cross—he never stopped. Click To Tweet

Hebrews 12:2 came to mind. All week, the words—“who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame”—rolled over and over through my mind. I kept asking, “What joy? What could possibly be worth it? What does that even mean?”

I had no clue.

Sunday, when the worship leader opened my church’s service, the first verse out of his mouth was…you guessed it…Hebrews 12:2. He asked the congregation, “Do you want to know what the joy was that was set before him?”

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was physically shaking my head yes.

He went on to say, “It was you and me.”

In all of my contemplation over the verse, this wasn’t a possibility I let myself seriously consider.

Am I really Jesus’ prize?

Am I the thought that he held in his mind as he pushed on towards his goal?

In the Divine Conquest (re-titled The Pursuit of Man), A.W. Tozer said, “Holy feeling had an important place in the life of our Lord. ‘For the joy that was set before Him’ He endured the cross and despised its shame. He pictured Himself crying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’

And that is a thought that calms my mind.


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18 thoughts on “For the Joy”

  1. You are building a WRITER”S CABIN? What?!! That is ambitous, to be sure! I don’t think I could ever even attempt such a thing, but wow – what an awesome place to have to go to and write at. I remember reading about Ann Voskamp’s need to write away from the half-dozen kids she homeschooled. Her farmer husband built her a little writer’s shack, and she penned her now best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts. You never know what God might lead you to pen in that writer’s cabin that you are building. So, that is the JOY you must contemplate as you drag another piece of wood through the forest to build that little getaway. What amazing things await you there, in the life of words and prose. What amazing things await our Lord in the lives of His sheep. Yes, we are His joy and that is a humbling thing to contemplate. But contemplate we must, especially as writers. May God bless your DIY project!

    1. Well, to be fair, my ‘cabin’ is the size of a shack ?. That’s an interesting fact about Ann Voskamp. I only have 2 kids to homeschool. I don’t think I could handle 6! Thanks for reading, Lisa!

  2. Ah, this is wonderful! I just wrote on a post about “The Beautiful Outcome of Our Lord’s Betrayal” by Lisa Harper. When he encountered so much betrayal and humiliation from enemies and friends, Jesus never gave an excuse. He kept going for our redemption! Thank you for this! Blessings.

  3. Wow, Stephanie! This is such a special post. I love the analogy between you dragging wood to Jesus and carrying His cross. And the joy set before Him being me and you?! Well, that’s just one of the most humbling, loving, and sacrificial thoughts about Christ ever! Blows me away! Thank you!

  4. Thank you for sharing this reflection. How awe-inspiring to think that we were Christ’s joy even as He suffered. I wonder how different we might think of ourselves and one one another if we thought of this more often.

  5. Thank you for shedding a different light on this verse. I had not thought about it much. I had never spent time thinking about Jesus dragging the cross up the hill.

  6. Beautiful Savior! This thought: ‪”At any point Jesus could have stopped. He didn’t have to climb that hill. But—even when the load got so heavy that he couldn’t physically drag his own cross—he never stopped.‬“ This shows such radical love, the all-in kind. He’s headed toward torture, and he presses toward it with all he is, not shrinking back, for the joy of gaining US! You and me! That’s a truth to meditate on for the rest of our days! Great post!

  7. I have come to rely on those verses in the Bible that tell me who I am in Christ. Neil Anderson has a list of 50 “Who I am in Christ” scriptures that are a huge encouragement to me. Thanks for the scriptures you shred as well!

  8. What a powerful post! You helped me feel the weight of the cross again through your real life example and descriptive word images. I have also been touched by the thought that we were His joy as He endured the cross. We were His joy when He laid down His glory for the blood, sweat, dirt and tears of this world. In turn, I pray that He will be our joy as we look ahead through the fog and suffering of these present times into that future day when we will see Him face to face. What joy we will share! God bless you, Stephanie!

    1. That’s a wise prayer, Melissa. One that I will echo. I can’t imagine why He finds me His joy, but I’m so glad He did. Now I pray that He becomes more and more mine. Thank you for your kind words and for reading. ♥

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