Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I'm well aware that the thought of talking about "joy" may very well steal what little joy you have left. With our personal worlds crumbling down all around us, it's hard to find "joy"; in fact, talking about joy often reveals that we're not experiencing it, and we know we should be because we profess we're trusting in God. But still, as hard as we try . . . there are times when joy just doesn't come. We long for it, yet something is keeping us from it. And quite frankly, our desire is that God would just remove the obstacle so that we could "experience" joy.
But we've got "joy" all wrong. And so does Webster (dictionary). True joy is NOT an emotion. It's a way of life. And until we learn to experience joy through our darkest valleys, God has work to do within us. As He grows our faith, He's teaching us to abandon the world and set our hearts on Him. He alone will be your strength . . . in your weakness. (That's the place where we witness His strength best.) And know this Truth:
God's weakness is stronger
than the greatest of human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25 (NLT)
It's difficult, at best, to find joy in the midst of unthinkable circumstances. I've gone through many things in life that should have taken every bit of joy that existed in my being. I know you've experienced loss of joy in greater ways than most can ever imagine. I know you felt you'd never find joy again. I know you struggle with joy . . . you're not alone. Know that joy doesn't mean you have to show outward emotion of glee. (We look at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7) True joy is much deeper than that.
Joy in the Lord can be found through pouring out tears, anger, and discontent in prayer. Joy is found through a sincere relationship with the Lord. Joy is grounded in a trusting relationship where you know you can pour out your heart to God in an honest way and find His grace to meet you right where you are. Joy is found in your darkest night and in your weakest moments because true joy is found upon your knees . . . when you know . . . that you know . . . that you know . . . that you can speak directly to your Heavenly Father. Joy is when you know He listens to you and begins to answer your prayers the moment you speak. (Isaiah 65:24) Joy is found when you don't know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit speaks to God on your behalf. Joy comes from knowing that NOTHING can separate you from God. Joy puts your life in motion as you seek Him first in your life . . . listening to Him attentively and being obedient to His every command. Joy comes from a heart that has decided once and for all that Jesus is all in all.
Joy is not a feeling.
Joy IS the Lord.
HE is your strength.
How do you find joy???
You find the Lord.
And just so you know,
"He is with you always" (Matthew 28:20) . . .
so you don't have to look very far. ; )
And be not grieved and depressed,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.
Nehemiah 8: 10
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