I wrote this on the chalkboard I have hanging in our kitchen. I've been learning alot about joy these last few weeks. Maybe it's because we are entering one of the most joyous times of the year.
It got me thinking, what is joy? Webster defines joy as "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight" This is what the world say is joy. Notice it says success, good fortune, getting your desires. Those are all things that are temporary. One day you can have all of those things and the next day, it can be all stripped away.
What does the Bible say about joy? In James 1:1-8 it says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
I believe that true joy comes from the Lord. The world cannot bring me joy. Sure, there are things in this world that can make me happy, but happiness is fleeting. It's dependent on my circumstances. Only the Lord living inside me, can bring me joy. Being joyful is a choice. I can choose to be joyful or I can choose to be sorrowful. Which will I choose? I have to say that most days I miss the mark. I don't choose joy. I wallow in my self pity and focus on what I don't have instead of the blessings that I do have. I focus on my physical ailments instead of praying for the Lord's healing hand upon my sick body. This sign reminds me daily that it's up to me.
Maybe you are in the same boat I am in tonight, having a hard time finding the joy through your trials. Afterall, what is so joyful about the loss of a child, a spouse, your health, or your home? The holidays can be a tough time when you are in the middle of the desert. You are desperate for rest and water, but there is none to be found. Call on the name of Jesus. Look to the only one that can quench your thirst and bring rest to your weary bones. Drag yourself to the feet of Jesus, where He is waiting with open arms to love you and refresh you. My joy and my hope is found in Christ alone. It can never be taken away.
So, what is joy to me? Hearing my girls say with a smile, "I love you mommy". That is Joy. To hold the hand of my husband and know he loves me unconditionally. That is Joy. To know one day I will live forever with my Savior. That is Joy. The hope that I will hold my sweet babies again. That is Joy.
I can choose to have joy now, even in the midst of my pain and tears. The choice is mine to make.