Monday, November 16, 2015

Even Then…There is Joy

When we’re surrounded by hard circumstances, and the sky just keeps falling, and the waves just keep coming, we can become so swamped in our own problems that we miss the joy.

But there is so much joy waiting to be discovered!

In the month-old neighbor baby who is learning to smile

In walking through wet morning grass to kneel in soft dirt and plant trees that will one day be taller than we are

In 26 children saying in unison, “You are welcome, Auntie Kasana!”

In overflowing plates of matoke and g-nut sauce

In peaceful morning Bible readings up on a water tower

In waving to everyone you pass on the road

In dancing and whooping in church

In knowing that God never leaves nor forsakes us

In cheering crowds welcoming boys home

We can’t wait for that “perfect time” to find joy, because that time will never come. We will never be entirely problem and stress free until we reach Heaven. Thus, we need to be able, with God’s help, to see the joy even in the hardship, hurt, and disappointment, because that’s when we need it the most.

Psalm 27: 5-7 reminds us that joy is not dependent on our circumstances when it says, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;at his sacred tent, I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.”

When we we’re struggling financially, we can know the joy of God’s provision. When we’re struggling relationally, we can find joy in God as the everlasting friend and father. People around us can also spread God’s joy through their words, actions, prayers or even a smile.

Sometimes, when I don’t feel there’s much to be happy about, let alone joyful about, God will drop a a little sweet something on my path for that day and I will remember that He is with me, and He is in control. As the giver of joy He can replenish us over and over again without ever becoming empty. And His presences provides yet another reason we can always be joyful! With Him before us, behind us, and walking with us, we can’t help exuding His joy!

Joy also lies in looking past the suffering to what lies ahead: everlasting peace and joy.
Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Even when we’re bombarded by hardship on all sides and no hope is in sight, we can still find joy through it all. Indeed, perhaps that is the truest joy of all as it is lasting, not relying on our circumstances. That is the joy worth having.


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