One of the last places on earth you may expect to find joy would be on the sidewalks in front of a busy abortion center; however, unless you can indeed find joy, you will not last very long in this difficult ministry. I developed this article by systematically examining Biblical verses on the topic of JOY and gleaning what each one suggests is a source of joy that can (and should) be found on the sidewalk in prolife ministry.
In adversity and opposition, strength and JOY are built.
James 1:2: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
The Holy Spirit brings joy and the Holy Spirit is present on that sidewalk!
Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
We cannot serve without Jesus, and our joy is full when we rely on Him.
The presence of God is very strong when we face a ferocious enemy. In His presence, there is fullness of joy.
Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
There is sorrow; yet, our hope is in seeing Jesus make all things right. No one can steal that joy.
John 16:22: So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Psalm 30:5: For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
This is the day God has appointed for us.
There is joy in discovering the strength of God when our strength fails us.
Nehemiah 8:10: Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
We recognize that earthly pleasure pales in comparison to the joy God gives us. Thus when we are in service to advance His kingdom, we will have joy greater than anything the earth can provide.
Psalm 4:7: You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In sidewalk ministry, our goal is to bring the wicked back to a right relationship with God, knowing they will perish without Him. Our joy is in our proclaiming and reflecting God’s righteousness.
Proverbs 10:28: The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
We see God’s protection over and over again on the sidewalk and can rejoice knowing that He is our refuge. We can also know that He is the protector of those unborn lives, and exult knowing that we can trust Him in this.
Psalm 5:11: But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
When moms and families at the abortion center turn to God, there is no joy greater.
Luke 15:10: Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Our model is Jesus and our goal is to reflect Him. We perhaps reflect Him most when we endure scorn, shame and persecution, remembering we will also be seated in the presence of God.
Hebrews 12:2: Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 Peter 4:13: But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
Answering those who challenge God’s truth is the work of the Spirit and brings great satisfaction!
Proverbs 15:23: To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
The friendships forged with team members all working to serve God is of great joy and comfort despite all the struggles on the sidewalk.
2 Corinthians 7:4: I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
Romans 15:32: So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
Our joy is NOT in the fruit, but in the Lord who has saved us. It is He who strengthens us, gives us power, endurance, and patience in this ministry. When we see those results, we respond with JOY!
Habakkuk 3:17-18: Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Colossians 1:11: May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
There is joy in abiding in and sharing God’s word.
Jeremiah 15:16: Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.
There is joy being a part of the harvest when God is so gracious to reveal it!
Isaiah 9:3: You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
Isaiah 35:10: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
There is joy in knowing we are pleasing God by our faithfulness in this ministry.
Matthew 25:21: His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’