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Friday, March 3, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 3: Joy)

Day 3: Joy
What is joy? According to my dictionary it is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”
When do I feel joy?
Not that often, if I’m honest.
I enjoy things—my morning coffee with half and half while the rest of the house is still asleep; an afternoon nap when the sun shines over me and the heater blows air out of the vents; an evening out with the hubs at our favorite restaurant.
But real joy?
I felt joy when I turned over the keys of my life to Christ, and escaped the claustrophobia of myself, as a pastor I heard recently so aptly put it. Speaking my wedding vows was a joyful moment, so much so that my eyes leaked, because for several years prior I’d had a very good reason to believe I would never marry. I experienced joy when my children were born. (Not in small part because the pain was finally over.)
In fact, every moment of true joy I can remember came in on the heels of some kind of pain.
Might forgiveness bring me joy through the cessation of pain?

* * *
[Look] to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame… - Hebrews 12:2

* * *
God, I know so little about joy. Where it comes from, and what causes it. How to hold onto it a little longer than I do. Would you tell me more about joy today? Teach me how to abide in it— better yet, teach me how to bring it to others. Show me how to endure my own crosses for the joy that’s on the other side of them. Show me what forgiveness and joy have to do with each other.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.

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