The prophet told me I was about to go through hell on earth and to hold onto my joy. What? “Perrrr-fect!” I thought, “How do I do that? Joy is some physical thing I can hold in my hand.”

I’ve always enjoyed reading great, epic adventures like Lord of the Rings. The main characters are usually given a quest; forced by circumstances beyond their control to go on a journey that shapes who he/she will become. Identity is found and the world is changed. What has fascinated me the most is what the people were like at the end of the story. Could they find a way to hold onto joy after this specific, epic adventure ended?

Not long after getting the word from this prophet, I found myself in my own epic adventure, one fraught with battlegrounds, adventure and the excitement of the unknown. The enemy was easy to spot. He was the enemy of old who wanted to steal, kill and destroy this quest in hopes to waylay the Lord’s plans. 

My adventure took me through many different battlegrounds of self, sacrifice, and staying true to what I felt the Lord asked of me. To say my spiritual armor was pretty beaten up, dented and dirty would be an understatement.  

A journey like this requires constant vigilance. Much is laid down as you learn to walk with a much lighter load. Sensitivity to the Lord grows. These epic adventures bring great growth, maturing and strengthening in Him.

And yet, what I found was my innocence was challenged. The childlike faith of my heart seemed to shrivel and my joy was hard to find. How do keep my joy? What is the key? This truly was the greatest battle ground of this adventure.

These questions were always on my mind. But, it took me until the very end of this particular epic adventure to discover the truth: 

My joy of the Lord comes as He restores me to my spiritual, child-like innocence.

My spiritual innocence really boils down to choice. It’s a choice to forgive and believe that people can change, God will always win and love is more powerful than hate. It’s the belief that no matter what, all things are possible with God. It’s the knowledge that God will turn the tide of the battle to His glory and that He is always a good, good God. 

As God reconnected me to my childlike faith, I saw a resurgence of joy. Truly, it had never left. It was always there: a “yes and amen” promise from God that my joy would be full. Through innocence almost lost, joy had become elusive to me. Yet, as God restored my innocence and reconnected me to the “All things are Possible” God He is, I found the key to seeing a joyful explosion of abundant life in Him: childlike innocence in Him.

If you are struggling to find your joy in this epic adventure you are in, I encourage you to reconnect to the childlike innocence as a Kingdom son or daughter. Choose to believe in the goodness of His nature; look for it, embrace it. Take the time to play. Walk through the woods or the beach and look for treasures. Play a game or do something you enjoyed as a child. As you reconnect to yourself as a child of God, you will find your joy is there, waiting to explode in a shower of beauty and delight. 

Christine Casten