“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11, NKJV
If you’re anything like me, you find yourself off course occasionally. Distracted by the things of the world, tricked into thinking there’s more to find and do that can make you feel as satisfied as you want to feel. You get caught up just for a moment with the human race’s constant rush towards next best thing, or the freedom of happiness, waiting just beyond the horizon. But (spoiler alert) it is actually just an endless chase, a fruitless search.
So, knowing how that feels, I am exceedingly thankful for joy. Not just any kind of joy, but true joy that comes from God that is whole, eternal and authentic. No other joy or happy can take a hold of your soul and fulfil it like the joy of the Lord. It enrichens and it restores.
“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” – Psalm 16:8-9, NKJV
Still, people continue to be unaware of this truth, and the hunt for happiness continues. Because it feels good while it lasts, right? YOLO, right? But it isn’t worth it. The thing about any and all the happiness to be found on this earth, whether it be egocentric or unassuming, addiction or obsession, unclean pleasure or ignorant idolatry, a blip or a whole season, is that its effect always passes. It doesn’t last forever, and none of it ever will. You will be left feeling empty if those things are your goals. Not to mention that “happy” is never reliable or constant even while it does last. Things will always get in the way of having a good time or being comfortable.
Friends leave you behind, jobs are lost, life-altering accidents happen, secrets are found out, mistakes are made – you name it. We have all been through stuff, big or small, and it is just a part of living in this sinful world. With simply mentioning some of the bad things that happen regularly, a point could be made, but the fact is that even when things are going well and we feel happy all on our own, living for ourselves, happiness isn’t the right fit for that cavity we have inside of us that we’ve all tried to fill at one stage or another. There’s only one solution to that.
You’ll find that people often try to convince you that all you need and want can be discovered by living in the now, taking what you want to take, partying how you want to party, focusing on yourself and your desires, concentrating on the positive and not the negative and trying out everything and anything to reach a state of happiness. But that couldn’t be farther from what is true.
So, what do we rely on to give us the stamina to keep on going during the rollercoaster ride we are on while living on this earth?
The answer is a breath of relief, a hopeful promise, and a reliable truth. The answer is joy, and we have a Saviour that will always provide joy for us if we want it from Him, but especially when we truly realize the purity and everlastingness of His joy and give up everything else for it. If we love Him, we will follow His commands, and that will lead to receiving His joy in us.
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10, NKJV
“The statues of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” – Psalm 19:8
I know and have known children of God who remain joyful and at peace even in the darkest of times. And if you ask them, they will give you the same answer. It is His joy, alive in them, at work in them. Joy that is unshakeable and unbreakable, joy that goes on despite whatever tries to douse it out.
That same joy, everlasting, unfailing and tender, is yours to have as well. So, when you stumble, when your heart falters, when your tears fall in abundance, look to Him. Allow Him to embrace you with His grace, to cover you with His feathers, to give you His joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4, NKJV
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul.” – Psalm 94:19, NKJV
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” – John 16:24, NKJV
Live It Out
How has He used His joy to minister to you in your life? Often there are many ways that God has strengthened us with His joy and carried us through a storm without us even realizing it until we look back. What ways can you think of that He has contented you with His perfect joy?
Something I like to do from time to time is to write down an episode of my life that God really comforted and uplifted me in, so that in the future, when going through trying time again, it can be another solid reminder to me of how well He cares for me. Take a moment to reflect on what encouragements you can write down from the Lord that have given you purpose to go on from where you are now.