Why can’t I remember which song so moved me in worship that tears of joy streamed down my cheeks? I thought I’d never forget! Though sung in Hebrew, I joined in one accord in the Spirit with my brothers and sisters that Saturday morning. Because of Who my God is, my heart overflowed. Because He’s given me His heart for the body of Christ all over the world, I praised and worshipped Him. Because He allows me not only to pray for, but go to them, my thankful heart could not be contained.
I was in Israel, worshipping with a wonderful Messianic congregation on this Saturday morning in their Shabbat service. It just seemed too good to be true. How many years had I prayed for this very congregation as a whole, and for many of the individuals, specifically? But God! My awesome God had made the way for me to be here with them in the natural, and the joyful tears of worship continued unabated.
In these moments, He gently reminded me of another Saturday, and of the tears that had flowed that day. Was it really only the week before? Had it really looked so bleak in those moments that I thought it almost impossible that I would be here a week later? Those tears were so full of fear and disappointment – without hope. The illness I’d been fighting for some time still had me firmly in its grasp, and I wasn’t sure I could physically handle the long flight and the exertion required on the tour once in Israel. I was ready to give up after all these months of planning and preparing.
Holy Spirit ministered to me as I worshipped with tears of joy in Israel; likewise, He ministered when the tears were without hope in Him. Both times, He enveloped me in the love of my Abba, Daddy, but the effect was different. In one, He loved me away from focusing on my circumstances, then reminded me that He had called me to Israel at this specific time. In the other, He simply immersed me in wave upon wave of His amazing love and goodness when my focus was already on Jesus Christ, my Hope.
Oh, the difference a week makes! Rather, it’s the difference a focus makes. That’s why the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. To think, I almost missed an experience with tears of joy in the Lord by succumbing to tears of hopelessness – all because I had lost my focus.
Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.