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Joy in Christ: Perspectives from Later Years

A collection of thoughts from older people about the joys we have in Christ.
Read Time: 8 minutes

My Joy in the Lord

The rich and abiding joy of knowing and serving God draws deeply on basic principles of faith. 

I believe in God because of His marvelous creation that surrounds us.

I trust God because of His clear and abiding purpose, described in the Biblical record.

I have confidence in God because of His unlimited power, knowledge, and wisdom.

I have faith in God because of His consistency, reliability, and universal presence.

I love God through the teaching, example, and sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son.

There are countless books, speeches, graphic arts, poetry, and a variety of music that contribute to our knowledge and appreciation of God. Perhaps the best and most helpful of these vast resources are the simple things that teach us, such as flowers, mountains, the sky, the oceans, and the seasons of the year. These help us appreciate the presence and power of Almighty God.

In the end, however, the simple teaching of the Word of God will teach, remind, encourage, correct, and motivate us in our daily lives. These principles will guide our service to the God of life and love. Simple principles of instruction and truth, of purpose and faith in the eternal God. These are things that bring lasting joy in my life in Christ.

Ken Curry,
Toronto East Ecclesia, ON 





God’s Hand in Our Lives

After losing our youngest son in Panama in 1978, we returned home feeling quite depressed. At least we had each other for support, but our older son, Ivan, was struggling. He had no one who understood or could console him. His brother had been his best friend, and now he felt alone and lost. 

Three years later, due to the encouragement and influence of Bro. Bob Lloyd, he was baptized.  

For a year or two, he had friends in the ecclesia. But over time, his friends all had girlfriends and were getting married, and he found himself the odd man out. He eventually found solace with his friends in the world and started playing snooker and baseball on Sundays. He stopped going to the meeting, instead spending time with his worldly friends, drifting away from the Truth. This situation continued for eighteen years. Sometimes, he visited us and occasionally sat down and did Bible readings with us. But eventually, he just never found the time to read with us.  There were times when we didn’t even know where he was living. For all those years, we have never given up praying for him.

Eventually, he met Marsha, whom he married. She was dissatisfied with many people who were selfish and ungodly. She was looking for something more in life, so Ivan introduced her to some ongoing Bible classes in our small town. When the seminar finished, she started taking classes with others in our home and became so enthusiastic that she began reading the Bible by herself. Soon after they were married, she was baptized. It was such a happy occasion, and we were thankful for God’s hand in their lives.

For us, the highlight was the day Ivan came with Marsha to share fellowship with the brothers and sisters in Christ. We were overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy that after all these years, our prayers had been answered, bringing Ivan back and our daughter-in-law, too. She is such a blessed addition to our small family, as well as comfort, love, and companionship to our son, who continues to be a useful brother in the ecclesia. He talks about God to everyone he meets and works with.

The lesson for us and others is never to stop praying. Our time is different from our Heavenly Father’s. He is a God of compassion, and He always hears the petitions of His children.

Peter and Margaret Stonell,
North Bay Ecclesia, ON





Joy in Purpose, Vision, and Hope

The Joys of my life in Christ started with being in a grade nine classroom with a young person (Diane Abel, now Siegler). We talked about her background (Christadelphian-raised) and my background (Catholic-raised). We hit it off the first day with an incredible connection, which I truly believe was God-driven. She invited me to their CYC youth group, and I did not hesitate. My single-parent mother was very religious (Catholic) but believed that all of her six children should have the freedom of choice in their lives, and so was very supportive of me attending CYC. From those first moments, I’ve never stopped believing that God was directing my life in a way that ventured forward with purpose and meaning.   

Through CYC, I met my future husband, David Birchall, who moved from England and joined our CYC. Life paves a path by God’s direction and forms an incredible bond of unity and commonality that will not be broken to this very day—married going on 53 years this July 2024. We were put on a path to London, Ontario, where we were part of a small but eager ecclesia that focused on Sunday School involvement and active workers.    

Our move was such that we formed an incredible purpose by starting the Christadelphian Save the Children Fund (christadelphianchildren.com), which, to this very day, still provides Bible learning supplies to countries throughout the ecclesial world, touching 34 countries last count.

Our bond as a couple did not form children of our own, but in Christ we received such joy that is hard to fully express as we both became spiritual parents to children throughout the world who needed spiritual support and purpose. Never underestimate the power that one can form in the lives of others thousands of miles away.

The story’s moral (not finished but continuous in purpose) is to find your niche and grow according to God’s purpose in your life. Be helpful, be vibrant, be willing to serve and be served, and grow thereby. Remember the past, honor the present, and look forward to the future in everything you do. When one begins to walk the path of spiritual urgency in the lives of those in isolation, one soon learns how to make a difference and carry the chain of importance in spreading the Truth of the gospel message. This, too, is a joy in my life in Christ. 

Fast forward to today, God’s blessing has come closer to home with African children and families from Tanzania, twenty-eight in all, swelling our small ecclesia, Sunday School, and CYC groups and allowing us to share our precious gift of grace.

Always thank God that He calls His own to be part of the vision of the Kingdom. May we all be ambassadors of this blessed message that Jesus died for our sins and was raised to eternal life to bring a vision clearly to mind. (Habakkuk 2:3). May we all behold the vision of hope, consolation, and especially eternal salvation through God the Father of all and Jesus Christ Our Lord. Let us all have a purpose, vision, hope, and eternal glory. 

David and Louise (Cecy) Birchall,
London Ecclesia, ON





Where There is Life, There is Hope

I’m Sis Myra Lucke from the Victoria Ecclesia in British Columbia, Canada. One of the most joyous occasions I have experienced in my life in Christ is witnessing my mother’s baptism. Mother always felt she was fine, thank you very much, without God. I left home at seventeen and ended up, by God’s hand, working in my life, living with a very faithful Christadelphian family, much to the chagrin of my mother. I was being brainwashed, she felt. 

Roll forward twenty-five years, and the only glimmer of hope I could see was that Mother felt there was something in Israel, this tiny country that was always in the news. I would tell her why, but that fell on deaf ears. Through some extraordinary situations, a sister in Vernon, BC invited my mom to attend a Learn to Read the Bible Effectively seminar. During the next phone call, my mom, who was a voracious reader, was telling me all about this amazing story of Esther in the Bible. I wondered if I had called the right number! 

Then, things changed dramatically. She was diagnosed with lung cancer. She came to Victoria for treatment, where she continued to have classes with a sister in my meeting. Mom eventually went home to Vernon, where she lived a relatively active life for the next few months. In the Fall, we had to put her in a care home, as the cancer had metastasized to the brain. But she continued to go to classes and to meeting.

All the while, my sister wasn’t too sure of all this religious activity my mom was getting involved in but went along with it. Both of us visited for Christmas and Mom couldn’t speak very well by then. After dinner one night, I took Mom home, and when I came back, my aunt and sister were sitting there waiting for me. When I walked in, out of the blue, they asked me if my mom might like to get baptized. I was thrilled. So the next day, I asked Mom, and she said yes.

By now, she was in a wheelchair, not able to walk very well. So, I phoned the recording brother, explaining my mom wanted to get baptized. He phoned me back after talking to the ABs, and they decided to have a cup of tea with her and chat about her beliefs in a very simple way. 

I was grateful for their kindness and sensitivity.  The baptism was arranged in two weeks. She was baptized on a Saturday, and the following Monday, she fell into a coma and never regained consciousness. My only regret was that I didn’t have more time to spend with her as a sister in Christ. I always say that where there is life, there is hope.

Myra Lucke,
Victoria Ecclesia, BC





My Joy at 95

I was baptized in 1940 and was active in the ecclesia. I gave exhortations, lectured on Sunday evenings, and taught Sunday School. I brought my wife into the truth. I was quite active in preaching activities. I worked with Truth Corps for twenty years, leading a team for five or six years in the US, Canada, and Panama. I did all of those things that a “good” Christadelphian was supposed to do. I knew about God: He was the Creator, immortal, all-powerful, and merciful. I knew what Jesus had done, working miracles, and that he was sacrificed so that believers could be forgiven and saved in the coming Kingdom. I knew these things, but something seemed to be missing.

I was taught that faith was the first principle and that it led to eternal life in the Kingdom. I know these things are essential, not ends in themselves but truths that lead us to understanding. 

One day, I read John 17:3: “This is eternal life, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” To know someone doesn’t mean just meeting someone, but much more. It means understanding that person’s purposes for life and how they thought about you. That gave me something to ponder. That is when I realized I knew about God and Jesus but didn’t know them. I loved them academically but not personally. I didn’t really have a relationship with them. I had read that God is love but didn’t appreciate that He loved me. That He was very concerned about me and wanted to give me eternal life if I committed to His ways. 

I realized His purpose was to fill the earth with people dedicated to bringing Him glory and that this is what He wanted for me. I read 2 Peter. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning the promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Now I know God and Jesus, rejoicing in their love, forgiveness and care as I wait for the Kingdom to come when I can love and serve with Jesus and honor my God throughout eternity in the promised Kingdom. This knowledge is my greatest Joy because now I love the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. God gave me a long life so that I could come to that realization.

Russell Patterson,
Verdugo Hills Ecclesia, CA

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