GEMS OF JOY

Some people find great value in gemstones; others find that they have little appeal.

The Pink Star diamond, a massive 59.6 carats and the largest internally flawless pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded, sold a couple of years ago for USD $71.2 million dollars. That makes it officially the most valuable gem or jewel ever to be sold at auction. Many people would define that as “great value” – certainly the person who paid such a princely sum.

My wife, however, would never wear it. (Not that there is any risk of me making the purchase!! AMEX says that the Platinum card has no pre-set spending limit, but I think that would be pushing it a bit.) She didn’t even want a diamond engagement ring when I proposed marriage to her. She has absolutely no desire to have a rock hanging from her fingers.

Actually, I am not one for gemstone rings either. A bishop is given a ring at his consecration by his consecrator. An episcopal ring has almost always been a very large gold ring that has a stone; traditionally an amethyst, the purple of the ring signifying ecclesiastical color for a Bishop. My episcopal ring is a simple silver ring which has the Chi Rho at the center flanked on either side by the Greek letters alpha and omega. No stone.

There are other sorts of “gems” that are infinitely more valuable than even the Pink Star diamond. More valuable even than “much fine gold.” They are precious promises that touch our hearts, like today’s verse.

WHEN ANXIETY WAS GREAT WITHIN ME, YOUR CONSOLATION BROUGHT ME JOY

Anxiety is a heavy burden, it weighs down our hearts. Often generated by pain or fear, anxiety is like a gloomy cloud; it blocks light and makes everything darker. It’s difficult to see clearly in the darkness. Life situations, both those present and those which may come upon us, can be clouded by anxiety. Crises of health and wealth, death of loved ones, threats to job security and income — all of these things and many more can become a very heavy burden.

But it is NOT a burden that Christ intends for us to carry. He invites us to exchange our anxiety for His consolation. Much more than just an expression of sympathy, to console is to soothe, to encourage, to raise up. Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us, anxiety seeks to move us away from Him and isolate ourselves in our fear and pain. But He steps closer, and invites us to give our burdens to Him. He opens the door for us to cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares; and more importantly, He is capable of handling every burden we have.

A few nights ago I was carrying four glasses to the cabinet where they are stored. Not a heavy burden, but an unwieldy one. I dropped one, and it fell and broke. Since the glass was only worth a dollar or so, I was not concerned. That’s when my wife pointed out that it had fallen next to a precious set of antique dishes that had been a wedding gift to her mother; and the real risk was that one of them could have been broken as well. Something of minimal value destroying something of irreplaceable value.

That’s what anxiety does. It uses something real (but essentially worthless) to put at risk something priceless.

Cast your cares and anxieties upon Christ. He cares, and He is capable. Be anxious for nothing, but no matter what the burden is, tell God in prayer how you feel, ask Him to take it and take care of it, then begin giving thanks to Him for what He will do even before you see it being done. THAT is how you walk in faith. There is an EXPECTATION of the delivery, the CONFIDENCE of the answer to your prayer. That is when the anxiety is pushed aside by His consolation; that is what makes room for HIS JOY.

Anxiety in your heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad. And GOD’S WORD is good. Let me put it another way. You can take Him at His word.

There was a royal official who lived in Galilee, his son had become deathly ill. He was anxious and afraid. As a father, he could do nothing. Even his power as a royal official could have no impact on his son’s health. As he sat and watched his son getting weaker and weaker he heard that Jesus was close by. He went and BEGGED him to come and heal his son. The royal authority of the official was worthless, what his son needed was the royal authority of the King of Kings.

Jesus told him, “Go, your son will live.” I have always been struck by the next seven words in John’s gospel. Here they are:
THE MAN TOOK JESUS AT HIS WORD

He knew how authority worked, so He knew before he saw what the answer would be. He took Jesus at His word. He left. He got home to find out that his son had recovered at the exact time Jesus had spoken.

Let Jesus speak consolation into YOUR life, into YOUR situation today.

WHEN ANXIETY WAS GREAT WITHIN ME, YOUR CONSOLATION BROUGHT ME JOY

The most precious gem in the world is not a rock named “Pink Star” but the ROCK OFAGES – Jesus Christ.

The Lord is my rock, my stronghold and my deliverer; my Savior and my God, my refuge, my shield.

God is not silent. He says through Isaiah the prophet, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, you can be certain I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

The gem of joy, the ROCK of God’s promises. THAT HAS VALUE !!!!!!

WHEN ANXIETY WAS GREAT WITHIN ME, YOUR CONSOLATION BROUGHT ME JOY

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