Paul writes about “joy” in this book, but it is important to note that joy isn’t the absence of hurt, anxiety, fear, or grief. God gave us emotions and relationships that affect them. To hold on to hope and to have joy means that in the midst of this loss and hurt, we hold on to God’s promise. It doesn’t mean we pretend everything is okay and we are happy. Paul loved his friends. He had deep connections with those with whom he had served. Their suffering and possible death would have grieved him deeply. He would have suffered and cried and been sorrowful—but not without hope.
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