Posts Tagged ‘joyful’
I’m still mentally processing lessons learned while in Eastern Europe this summer. For instance, working in Romania among a group of young adults living with serious health issues deepened my understanding about true joy.
I find immeasurable joy in in my grandchildren’s hugs. I find joy in knowing my kids and their spouses love the Lord, and in hearing my husband’s hello when he comes home from the office. Joy, for me, comes in knowing my writing or teaching has given someone direction or hope. It comes in spending time alone with God in the morning’s early hours. These things, and other simple pleasures, bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart.
But what if my circumstances looked different? What if my health deteriorated and I was no longer able to walk or talk or care for my own needs? What if my home was foreclosed, or my husband walked out on me? What if I’d experienced abandonment and abuse similar to that of my Romanian friends? What if my present involved the same struggles they face, or my future on this earth looked as uncertain? How joyful might I feel then?
Sitting beside the Danube River early one morning in July, I read Psalm 4:6-8: “Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”
Those words leapt off the page that day. They reminded me that life’s circumstances can be dire indeed, but joy remains possible thanks to the Lord’s presence in our lives. Money, health, and creature comforts—although nice to have—ultimately do not bring the joy and peace we crave. It’s found in Christ alone.
These Scriptures have become very meaningful to me. I’ve turned them into a prayer: “Dear Father, please make your face smile on us (and on my brave Romanian friends). Grant us (and them) greater joy than those who have great material abundance. Grant us (and them) peace in knowing that You alone keep us safe. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Thanks for listening as I process the things I saw and learned. I pray that the lessons I’ve learned from yet another missions trip will bless you, too.
In the thick of daily life, I sometimes forget the many amazing blessings God promises me for reverencing Him. How about you? Are you aware of the blessings listed—specifically in Psalm 112:1-9? If not take a moment to read these verses. I guarantee you’ll be encouraged:
How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands.
Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.
They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.
Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered.
They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.
They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.
Personally, I think I need to spend time meditating on these Scriptures, soaking up their application to my life, and then turning them to prayer. For starters, I’m going to revel in the truth that my relationship with God means I can be confident and fearless. I can face whatever foe comes my way because God says so.
What bolded phrase means the most to you today?
The more I read about joy, the more I’m convinced that God’s kids, more than anyone else on earth, ought to be living demonstrations of this characteristic. Anyone can be joyful when life’s honky-dory, but it’s not so easy when the basement floods, the kids break out in chicken pox, the car breaks down, and income runs out before the month ends.
Our family shares a joke about a van we owned years ago. It was a lemon. Extra sour. The head gasket blew between Christmas and January 1st two years in a row. It burned through three engines during its tenure as a member of our family. And once, on a trip through the Rockies in December, we discovered that the heater didn’t work. Picture this: Gene driving with our four-year-old son sitting beside him, wrapped in a blanket. Our two wee daughters sitting in the middle seat bundled with sleeping bags. And me—shivering in the back seat while scraping ice off the windows.
I’m sorry to say I allowed that van to dictate my attitude ‘way too many times. Like I said, joy comes easy when life’s easy. But it’s not so quick to show up when life presents challenges.
I read Psalm 5:11,12 recently: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord: you surround them with your shield of love” (Psalm 5:11,12).
Several important truths about joy come to mind as I ponder these words:
- Knowing that God is our refuge is reason for joy whether our circumstances feel good or not.
- We’re to sing joyful praises forever. Doing so is non-optional for God’s kids. He knows that joyful praises breed life in us and in those who hear us speak. Let’s do what He says—He knows best.
- We’re to sing joyful praises forever. That means always, not only until the good times end.
- God spreads His protection over those who love Him. That knowledge should result in our being filled with joy rather than fear, insecurity, or worry.
- The knowledge that God surrounds us with His shield of love is pretty good cause for joy, too, don’t you think?
Joy ought to be a hallmark of those who follow God. How are you doing in that department? Do you have a favorite Scripture that speaks about joy? If so, what is it?
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