joy, that ever elusive, always sought after feeling or is joy even a feeling? and if not, then what is joy? a state of being? a way of living? I do know that she is often confused with happiness, her counterfeit cousin. Happiness, so circumstantial, so fleeting; as fleeting as the circumstances which heralded her arrival to began with. She never tarries long with anyone.
But joy, she abides in unexpected places and shows herself when I am not looking for her. When I have given up my search and seek instead others’ hurts to heal or others’ burdens to share, it is joy that keeps me company in these endeavors. Often, I am not aware of her presence. She is quiet. She does not announce herself nor ask that I announce or acknowledge her presence within me. She makes herself at home and lingers long despite the storms that rage around me. They do not scare joy nor run her off.
Joy entered into our existence with the birth of Jesus. The angel told the shepherds that very night, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today . . . a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Joy stays with me in difficulty and in grief. She comes alive when I read God’s Word or when I obey His commands. Joy is most visible when I bring her to others. Otherwise, she abides with me, a quiet guest, making no demands, yet filling places in me that, were they left empty, would fill with things too heavy for me to carry, crushing me beneath their weight. Joy gives me her wings and teaches me to fly. She never leaves me nor forsakes me because Jesus never does. Jesus is the author of joy. Apart from Him she does not exist.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
“. . . Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Jeremiah said of God’s Words, “they were my joy and my heart’s delight,” (Jer. 15:16)
Jesus told His followers, “If you obey My commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:10-11)
I do not need to find my way to joy, for joy has found her way to me. She has been with me all along. She is light in her abiding and she sheds light when my way is dark. Thank you, God, for Your good gift of joy.
“. . . for I have redeemed you. Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done this;” (Isaiah 44:22-23)
sincerely, Grace Day