When I lunched recently with my good friend Melinda, I added honey to my cup of tea but didn’t stir…the honey settled into the bottom, making the last sips the sweetest.
Melinda said it reminded her of a quote by Puritan preacher Thomas Watson, about “sugar in the bottom of the cup”—experiencing the joy of the Lord at the end of life. I thought her reference was about growing older in grace. We shared our hope to be joyful and contented in our senior years and vowed to work hard on this attitude.
But when Melinda sent me Watson’s words, I found deeper messages. Watson was a 17th-century English Puritan preacher, someone who persevered in joyful Christian ministry despite persecution.*
His writings were extraordinary in light of his sufferings for his faith. He saw the joy of the Lord as “something to be labored for” and yet also a gift of the Holy Spirit. Joy, for him, was a “delightful passion” and a “sweet and pleasant affection—which eases the mind, and exhilarates and comforts the spirits.”
Watson wrote of times when God gives His people divine joys, including the hour of death:
“Of those even who have had no joy in their lifetime, God puts this sugar in the bottom of the cup—to make their death sweet…. When saints lay themselves down to sleep the sleep of death, they have often a vision—they see the light of God’s face, and have the evidences of His love sealed up to them forever.”
Watson’s point? That those who live for Christ find their last hours to be sweetest when death comes to call.
Watson’s other writings show, too, that joy can be a welcome companion on our lifelong journey. He stated that the joys of God not only refresh the soul—but strengthen it. God oftentimes, especially when we share communion with Him in the Lord’s supper, pours in the “oil of gladness, and gives the soul a secret seal of His love.”
Watson believed that when “the Sun of Righteousness arises on the soul, it makes a sudden alteration, and the soul is infinitely rejoiced with the golden beams of God’s love.”
Friend, do you have the joy of the Lord now? Is it a daily gift to you from His Spirit?
You don’t have to wait until the end of your life to experience now what He offers daily in abundant life. It is always His for the giving, always yours for the taking.
Joy isn’t the same as happiness or ease in our circumstances. Joy is the by-product of a deep-seated, abounding trust in God’s faithfulness to us, regardless of the difficulties we encounter every day. It flows from the fountains of obedience, forgiveness, and His daily mercies.
You may be someone who has believed the lies of Satan: It’s too late. I’ve done too much bad stuff. There’s way too much baggage between me and God. He doesn’t want to help me. He doesn’t hear my prayers. My situation is hopeless.
Don’t believe the deceiver’s words. In the past week, I have heard and seen multiple “impossibilities” come to life from God’s hand. After years of petition, after years of silence from the heavens, He is answering requests not in dribbles but in waterfalls, pouring unexpected joy and healing into the hearts of people for whom I have praying.
These events have been astonishing and overwhelming for myself and my friends—watching God at work is staggering, knee-bending, and praise-shouting for the believer. We are weeping with joy. We are tasting the sugar in the bottom of our cups.
Friend, Jesus is your Joy-Giver. He does the impossible every day. He loves you so very much. He does all things well, for your good. Trust Him, be patient with His timing.
If you don’t know Him, get on your knees and call out to Him right now. He is seeking you, knocking at the door of your heart…pulling you, one of His treasured children, into His sheepfold of green pastures and delights.
Come taste the “sugar in the bottom of your own cup” as you enter His presence and His vast storehouse of wonders and glory. You will find His joys eternally sweet.
Oh Jesus, how we praise You for giving us the oil of gladness and the mirth of praise for your goodness. Let us bow before You today to taste the sweet joys You hold before us in Your hands. Give us Your Holy Spirit every moment so that we will overflow with Your love for others, no matter what our circumstances or weariness. In Your abundant grace and powerful name, Amen.
To learn how you can know Jesus as Your Savior, Lord, and Friend, here’s some good news:https://lightbournecreative.com/good-news-for-you/
*For Watson’s treatise on joy, go to https://www.gracegems.org/Watson/christian_joy.htm
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.