Joy

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I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.  O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 1 Chronicles 29:17-18

Which would be better? Having every prayer answered or always being full of joy? This is a question I was recently asked. An internal conflict began in my mind – worldly desires vs. Godly desires, but I quickly answered “full of joy” because I have lived long enough to be thankful for unanswered prayers. I wasn’t thankful right away, but after time it was very clear that what seemed like a good request at the time would have turned into a disaster if it had been answered.  Can you think of any prayers you are thankful remained unanswered?

Don’t get me wrong. If I knew when I prayed friends would be healed from cancer, that all my unemployed friends would find jobs or that my house would sell this week it would be VERY tempting to take the answered prayer over joy.  I think the heart of this question is this: Do you choose God or yourself? God is pure joy that we can have dwell within us. If we choose Him, we can pull from His strength, bask in His peace and find security and joy in His promises. If we choose self (answered prayers) we choose a life that may seem perfect, but leaves no room for growing closer to God and experiencing His grace, mercy and miracles.

Yes, I would like for everyone to have food, shelter, be free of illness, experience safety, freedom, employment and that  isn’t even my personal list of petitions.  But, if trading in all of that suffering and imperfection meant I wouldn’t know God and experience Him the way that I do now – I would have to pass. Besides, it’s only the world we’re living in!

My life theme song is by Mandisa, called Only the World.  Here are the lyrics or you can listen to it by clicking Only the World, Mandisa

Been a hard one, Been a bad one
Been a tough one, Been a sad one
It’s been one of those days that keeps chipping away at my heart
Nothing new here, so what I do here
its a stereo-typical day, in the life
i’m surrounded by all of the pain and the strife
but I know it’s alright, woah oh

Chorus:
Cause it’s only the world I’m living in
It’s only the day I’ve been given
There ain’t a way I’m giving in
Cause it’s only the world (only the world)
I know the best is still yet to come
cause even when my deeds in the world are done
It’s gonna be so much more than only the world to me , yeah its only the world

Anybody, can you hear me?
Do you feel me? Me, can you feel me?
I know I’m not the only one wearing the weight of this world
We got problems (said it’s alright)
Just remember (yeah, it’s alright)
Take a good around we’re just stuck on the ground for a little while
Don’t it make ya smile.


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