Dear friends, last week I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do a three day fast for my husband. Now fasting is not easy for me but something about this felt important...pivotal...timely. I've shared in the past how God led me to read the story of Jericho and told me four things: my husband was my Jericho, I was to march around him in prayer, the seventh year would be the most difficult, and at the end of seven years my husband would be spiritually healed.
That was fourteen years ago. I have no idea as to the delay for this word, but I have held fast to it, trusting God to do what He said. And last week, He led me to reread this story again. The very next day I read a message that was all about the story of Jericho. The author connected it to Purim and called for a three day fast to "march" into breakthroughs.
Once again the Holy Spirit connected the dots for me so I determined to fast. Prayed for the strength to do this, and waited. One phrase kept filling my mind the two days before I was to begin this fast...
The joy set before Him...
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:2 NASB
As the phrase continued to run through my mind, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart...the joy set before you...
It kept ringing in my spiritual ears, begging the question what joy was set before me? What did the Holy Spirit want me to understand? The meaning became clearer. That I could find strength to run the race, to fast for these three days as I focused on the joy set before me. The "vision" of my husband as a lover of God. Seeing him come to Christ in full faith, to walk with Jesus all the days of his life.
The joy set before me...
As I fasted and made the sacrifice I saw the joy set before me—to see Mike saved. And it spurred me on.
My friends, in this revelation came yet another one that has undone me again. I continue to think and meditate upon it and I am overwhelmed once again by the love of Jesus for us.
Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. — John 13:1 NLT
For in His time here on earth with His mission constantly before Him and the understanding of what was to come, He chose to come and bear the shame of the cross.
No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” — John 10:18 NLT
Why? For the joy set before Him. What was that joy?
We are. We are the joy set before the Lord. Each and every one of us. Every single person who has, is and will walk on this planet is His joy.
Our pre-believers are His joy. That cantankerous neighbor is His joy. Your children are His joy. You, my dear one, are. His. Joy.
The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! — John 4:36 NLT
It's that simple and that beautiful.
My fasting did not save my pre-believer. Only Jesus can. But I do believe it played a part in God’s plan for my husband. And in this call of obedience, He gave me an understanding of His heart for all of us. As we pray and contend for those we love, we can set our eyes on the joy before us, knowing that as Jesus chose the cross and endured the pain and suffering, His eyes were set upon us.
Set upon our pre-believers. And remember His final words?
It is done.
It is done. I believe Him, my friends. I believe. And I am totally undone.
P.S. I have an interview on Stephen Scoggins blog today. He's the author of The Journey Principals and has some really good articles are many topics, like bullying and anxiety. I'm honored to be part of his new line up to feature other ministries. Hope you'll stop by! Hugs!