The Power of the Joy of God

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:31

When we were in Calcutta, India, our team had the opportunity to do some work in a red light district known as Khidirpore.  The area was deeply poverty-stricken. The atmosphere was very oppressive and dark. Walking through, I could feel that it was a place where sin was rampant; I felt a lot of sadness and heaviness in my heart. As we walked through Khidirpore, praying as we went, we took time to stop and talk with the people and spend time with them. As we did this, there were moments when I felt tempted to let the darkness and sadness overwhelm me- sometimes, it really just feels like the natural and almost the appropriate response. But as we walked through the streets, I felt like God was saying that he wanted to use me to spread his love and joy there.

I felt like God was saying that he wanted to use me to spread his love and joy there.

That rather than being overcome by evil, I was there to overcome evil with good! As God gave me this realization, I began to feel so excited about showing love to the people around me!  I realized that even just giving a smile to somebody was so powerful, because it was bringing into their lives a piece of the joy and love that God has for them! I really felt a new confidence in the power of expressing the joy that God puts into our hearts as Christians. Who God is just brings such hope into every life. No matter how dark a situation might seem, God’s love is always bigger. There is so much power when we have confidence in that!

I had this realization at a lot of different points throughout the outreach. I found it so inspiring to meet with different organizations who were working against prostitution and human trafficking in Nepal and India. I noticed something that they all had in common- in the midst of all the darkness they were dealing with, they all had such a sense of optimism and joy! It’s so important to keep the hope that comes from Christ in the forefront of our minds when doing this kind of ministry. God wants His grace to give us strength to work with these people. Not only does he want us to remember his grace in our own lives, but he wants us to remember that his grace is also working in the lives of those we’re ministering to. Rather than taking on their burdens as our own, we need to be continually trusting that God is the one who is strong enough to deal with their situations. We must truly believe that He will be faithful to work through us when we are submitted to doing His will, and that will give us the strength we need to be as effective as we can be as missionaries!