I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
I have found, as you may have, that sometimes God speaks to me through reoccurring messages or themes. He weaves a central theme through His word, a sermon, my weekly Bible study, a podcast and conversation. It will pop up every where over several days and even weeks. He makes it impossible to miss and I’m so grateful for His love and vigilance. Like a parent reminding their child at each meal to put their napkin in their lap or share their toy – He never gives up on us.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23
This week God has sent me many reminders about joy. I needed to be reminded of living a life full of joy so I am grateful for His faithfulness. Joy is defined as the “emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” God calls us to be joyful in times of trial and suffering. But, I’m pretty sure when I am in the midst of financial stress, illness, fear, pain or a multitude of other sufferings I don’t first focus on the feeling of joy, successful or of good fortune.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Often, when life hits hard, my first response can be the antonyms of joy which include: sadness, sorrow, woe. Thankfully, God’s word and truth are hidden in my heart and through tears or seeds of doubt His words begin to seep out slowly and they cover the sadness, sorrow and woe with great joy and gladness. It is of no power or strength of my own that this happens. It is only by the Lord’s grace, love and power this is possible. We can be filled with JOY because of Him. We can experience JOY when we worship Him despite our situations. We have JOY when we serve Him. We exude JOY when we find peace and trust in His plan.
Sit with God, talk with Him, hear from Him through His word, listen for His whisper and feel the joy that comes with knowing He is sovereign. Let His truth and word cover your woe, your sadness and your worry with joy.
I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2 (NLT)