Last Friday, September 20, was the 14th anniversary of my dad’s death. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about him. That I don’t miss him. There is so much of my life — of my kid’s lives — that I wish he could have been here for. So many times that I could have used his wise council, or just his listening ear. He was a very good listener.
Almost every September 20th since he died, I have been sad, weepy, depressed. But this year. This year was different. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t expect it to be different. I went into the week preparing myself to be sad. I even warned my kids. I explained to them why this week is hard for me. I explained how much I miss my daddy.
Then Friday morning came. I got up and felt okay. Not great but not immediately sad. I sat down with my Bible and began reading in John 18. And then I got to verse 33.
I’ve read it many times before. It’s the story of Jesus before Pilate.
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
I read all the way through verse 40 and it hit me. They chose a robber over Jesus — this I already knew. But what occurred to me is that that is exactly what I do. I choose the things of this world over Jesus. And those “things” are like robbers. They rob me of my joy and my peace. James 1:2 tells his to “count it all joy” — that is choosing Jesus. If I choose sadness and strife over joy and peace, I am allowing myself to be robbed of what God has for me.
This may be a connection in my own mind. Many, or no one, may understand it but for me, it was the Lord gently reminding me to choose joy on this day that held so much sadness. To choose Jesus and the things that He has planned for me.
That was my prayer on Friday. That will be my prayer today. May it also be your prayer.
Joy to you!