“…And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost…”- 1 Thessalonians 1:6
One of the first assurances God gave me as a new believer was the hope of supernatural joy in the midst of the most troubling of circumstances. When I was in high school I had a dream that I will never forget, and has reminded me over the years of the reality of the Joy that Jesus offers us through the Holy Spirit. God’s word tells us that the Kingdom of God is not “meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” – Romans 14:17 Jesus spoke of a day when people’s hearts would begin to fail them for fear of all the things coming on the earth, but as followers of Christ we have an Eternal Hope that can’t be shaken by even the most horrific of circumstances. Psalms 46:2 declares, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
In my dream I was having lunch in a cafeteria type of setting that somehow I associated with my high school at the time. Of course my high school looked nothing like what I saw in the dream, as the room I was in had a large glass wall that looked out at a beautiful landscape with plains and distant mountains. It was a pleasant place to be eating lunch, and sitting at my table I gazed out through the window admiring the scenery. Then as my eyes were fixed on the distant mountains I saw the unmistakable profile of a mushroom cloud billowing with smoke- and the sky immediately grew dark. The casual atmosphere of the cafeteria erupted in chaos, as people all around me began to scream in terror. But for some reason I felt no sense of fear at all, and remained seated at my round table continuing to gaze at the center of the distant cloud.
There at the center of the cloud I perceived what looked to be sparkle of light that began to rapidly approach me from the distance. Intrigued by this light as it approached me I slowly began to discern that it had a certain form or shape. Fixing my eyes on the form ahead of me it suddenly became clear to me that the light I saw had the form of a white translucent dove. At that very moment an indescribable sense of Joy hit me from the depth of my belly, and I jumped on the table I was sitting at and began to rejoice with a deep passion that I never had before. While everyone around me was running and screaming with terror – I was experiencing the greatest moment of my life.
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians they had experienced persecution and trouble that most of us could never even comprehend. But scripture tells us that even in the midst of this trouble that they received the Word with ‘joy of the Holy Ghost’. This is the kind of joy that God allowed me to experience in my dream – an unspeakable joy that literally has nothing to do with the circumstances around us. This is the kind of joy that Jesus wants to give you – and in these days that we are living in it is that very joy that will sustain you when others are consumed with fear.
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