One of my neighbors radiates joy. Humanly speaking, there’s no logical reason for this 30-something gal to smile as she does. She struggles with chronic illness. Her failing vision has—to a degree—stripped her of independence. Constant pain makes her day-to-day life downright difficult; sometimes she hurts so much that she can barely crawl up the stairs to her bedroom. And yet she’s never without an encouraging word.
Where does her joy come from? Obviously not her circumstances. I suspect it’s her faith. A couple of years ago, she chose to follow Christ and then started attending women’s Bible studies. She’s grown spiritually, fed by the Word of God and finding strength in His promises. Even though she doesn’t understand why her life has turned out the way it has, she trusts God’s wisdom and sovereignty and she finds Him to be enough.
My neighbor’s attitude demonstrates something Billy Graham said: “Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within…it does not depend on circumstances, but triumphs over circumstances.”
Amen to that.
Every person faces difficulties at one time or other. It’s interesting how some people reflect negativity while others, like my neighbor, radiate joy. How can we fall into the latter category?
Here are some suggestions:
- Read the Scriptures on a regular basis. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand the reality of God’s promises in a new way.
- Develop the habit of giving thanks even for the little things and the mundane.
- Pray for people whose circumstances are more difficult than ours.
- Fill our homes with praise and worship music to fill our minds with the truth about who God is.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to fill and control us. When that happens, joy is a natural outcome (Galatians 5:22).
Joy isn’t something we can work up. Neither is it found in rosy circumstances. It comes from within, the natural overflow of an ever-growing friendship with Jesus.
That’s the secret, available to all.