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Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,~Hebrews 12:1-2.
Joy is the serious business of heaven,~C.S Lewis.
God is joy. The fruit of His Spirit is given in Galatians 5:22-23…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
We who are in Christ have the ability to live joy filled lives because God is joy. If Christ is in you, you have the unlimited source of joy.
Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is delight based on what’s happening. Joy is a part of God’s character. It is the ability to maintain hope even in desperate situations because of the truth of God’s unfailing love, His unyielding faithfulness, and glorious provision. Joy is rooted in God and will yield fruit in any season.
You may be saying, “Yeah right Erin, you don’t know what I’m going through.” I may not know the details of your story. I do know the details of my own, the story of Jesus (who endured the worst suffering), and the stories of many other people who have lived hellish experiences on earth.
My dad for example was abandoned by his father and left to help raise his siblings. He endured great ridicule for his disability, lack of formal education, for his skin color, and gave up many of his dreams to help his mother. He joined the Army and monthly sent home the majority of his pay for his 12 siblings. His first born son was murdered by a man who never served any jail time and continued to live in the community. My dad chose to love the man who killed his son. He lost both his parents, many siblings, survived cancer, and lost his wife to cancer. Yet, in all my years, I’ve never heard him complain. My dad wakes up singing (loudly) to God. He spends his retirement visiting nursing homes, preaching the Gospel, praying for the sick, and caring for orphans. He devoted his life to full time ministry and has overseen his church for over 40 years without requiring a salary. Any money given him is invested in helping the poor and to spread the Gospel. He told me last night, “I’ve had some hard times, yet I’d live them again to know what I know now. God takes care of everything!” He knows what it’s like to be poor, unloved, abandoned, hurting, unseen, and lonely. He understands suffering, yet devotes his life to comforting others in their suffering.
I too, have endured things I never thought I could or would live through. Unlike my dad, there have been seasons of complaining, fear, and doubt. I’ve found though, the more I trust God…the more joy I have! He will and does take care of everything. I know what it’s like to be abandoned, rejected, betrayed, persecuted, lied on, abused, and left to suffer with God alone. What I can tell you is this: God will not fail you! No matter what it looks like, no matter the pain or sorrow, no matter who’s abandoned you in your hour of need, no matter the circumstances or sickness you face…God is able. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you! He will come through for you!
As someone who’s cheated death many times, I can say with full confidence that nothing is ever impossible with God. He heals. He restores. He makes a way where there is no way! He’s the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. God is JOY.
If you need joy today, connect with God. Set aside time to be with just Him. Soak in His Presence. Rest in His embrace. Find life in Him! He’s the only Source that never runs dry. He’s not put off by or intimidated by weakness. God loves and cares for you. He comforts like no other. He’s amazing!
Abba, I ask for anyone reading this who lacks joy to find it in You. Provide heavenly perspective. Help us to see life from Your point of view. We have hope in You. You promised to supply ALL our needs according to Your riches in glory. We are trusting in You. You never fail. Thank you for all You are, all You’ve done, and for the blessings to come. We wait expectantly for You! In Jesus powerful name, Amen.