This past Saturday while attending the Seminole Sound Spectacular, I took a train of thought that brought me to a place of overwhelming sorrow and then tears.
This had to do with sadness over an individual rejecting what I had to say and another loved one’s ongoing rejection of God when once she had seemed to have such a deep love for and devotion to the Lord.
She sent a text which was connected to her rejection of God, and without realizing it I once again entertained Satan’s lie of, “she’ll never come back.”
Later I discovered that the other lies he was trying to get me to believe again were, “It’s all your fault,” and “God doesn’t love you—or her.”
This emotional meltdown was happening with people all around. As the tears flowed, I cried out to God.
I wanted to go home and forget about the remaining marching bands, but I knew that was just a move toward self-pity. My daughter had been there earlier with me watching the bands, but she had to leave. Now I was alone, and that’s when negative thoughts and sadness took over.
Instead of vacating the scene, I dried my eyes and walked toward the crowded stands to find a place to sit.
I sat at the far end of the stands–the only place where seats were available–but I still had a good view of the football field.
The lady I sat next to smiled at me. Her face seemed full of joy. Surprisingly, just that smile and sense of joyfulness lifted my spirits.
I asked, and she told me that her child played in the band at Northside Christian School. So she’s a Christian, I thought.
I said little to her as we watched the spectacular marching bands that presented their shows. These were in the 5A Divison, the larger bands, which means they have 81 or more
higher wind instruments. We proclaimed “wow” and clapped in unison when these bands played, and especially for the Tarpon Springs Marching Band. Amazing. Often laughter came from her mouth. Then I laughed too.
The longer I sat next to this lady, the more joy I felt welling in my soul. The lies of the enemy no longer tormented me. My confidence in the Lord returned. Yes, the music was exhilarating, and the marching impressive. But it was more than that.
After a while I asked if she would save my seat since I spotted my granddaughter a ways off. We had lost track of each other, and her cell phone battery had died. Later I realized she didn’t have my cell phone number memorized, so she couldn’t call me on someone else’s phone.
I connected with my granddaughter, and we came back to where I had been sitting. Once again I sat next to this joyful lady, and I squeezed Destiny in next to me.
During the awards, it was announced that Northside Christian Marching Band won first place in their division. I clapped joyfully and was excited for joyful lady and her
child—even though my only connection with the school was her and that I had been a substitute teacher there years ago.
As I reflected on what happened—my going from feeling full of sorrow as I walked down the length of the bleachers to being filled with joy after sitting down—I knew it had something to do with that lady. She was sweet and joyful, and it rubbed off on me. And somehow that joyfulness chased the enemy and his ability to torment me away.
What I learned from this is to try to maintain a joyful attitude myself, so I can keep the enemy at bay and to lift the spirits of those I walk by, stand or sit next to in any given moment of the day. Also, I can choose to seek out joyful people instead of being around negative people or alone with my negative thoughts when I’m feeling down. If I can’t find a person, the Lord Himself is joyful and I can be restored to joy in His presence.(See Psalm 16:11)
That lady didn’t know what I was going through. She had no idea that sadness had swept over me because of some harsh disappointments in my life. But the Lord used her to help me. She lifted my spirits, and she doesn’t even know it.
I don’t know her name, but I’m thankful for her. And I’m praying that the Lord will cause me to be more like her—someone who is so full of joy that it’s contagious.
Lord, thank You for what You did for me this past Saturday. Thank You for keeping this promise from Your Word “ …For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13 NASB). Help me to be so joyful that my joy splashes onto others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
I’m Trading My Sorrow by Darrell Evans