Jan 26, 2020

Dear Wellspring Ohana and Friends,

Joy can be a hard concept in times of trials. I remember the time the light bulb (one of many up to that point and one of many still to come) came on in my head. It was 2010 and I was in a hotel room in Karachi, Pakistan with Jeremy Scott. We were in Pakistan to familiarize a couple with the area who came there from Colorado I think, to serve as missionaries. I was asked by Jeremy to go to provide support to him, to be a Barnabas to his Paul.

I remember the second leg of the three flights was a 16-hour non-stop from San Francisco to Dubai. I remember going through customs in Pakistan and realizing that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I remember the hotel room. Very basic, paint peeling, two beds, its own bathroom (thank God) and a ceiling fan that wobbled so much that I thought it would come loose and decapitate us both. And I remember standing in that room ranting. Ranting to Jeremy, to the one I was there to support.

I wasn’t ranting loudly, flailing my arms around or anything like that. I was just voicing a frustration. I can’t remember what set me off, I’m sure it was something highly insignificant, but I can remember what I was ranting about. JOY! Where was it?? I was being obedient (in my mind). I was halfway (or more) around the world. I was there without question. I. Was. Sacrificing. My time, my comfort, my money. I should be getting something out of this. Where was the elation I was supposed to be feeling? The JOY?

It was then that I got that feeling. It wasn’t audible. It was much like a Pastor Cheryl “That is enough!” This was not for my joy, but for the Lord’s. What I thought was my “sacrifice” was insignificant. I wasn’t supposed to be there for me but for God. God didn’t need me in this place. He could accomplish the same thing without me. God takes joy in my efforts when my motivation for doing anything is to please Him. That’s where I get my strength from. I was trying to emphasize my works apart from God. I know the book of Ephesians tells us that it’s all about grace from God, not works from Joe. Let’s all give God joy, especially now. He will strengthen us.

Blessings.

Joe Marshall

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