Lately I’ve got caught in grieving over losses in my life. If I stay too long on contemplating these losses, it can lead to depression and even despondency.
What brings me back to the place of joy is to think about all the gains I have from being in an intimate relationship with the Lord.
When I view these losses through His perspective, I can see how each one has helped me to draw closer to Him and to grow in godliness and in trusting Him. They have forced me to embrace an eternal view instead of getting caught up in all the temporary issues of this world.
As I’m reading through the Bible this year, in the New Testament I notice how often Jesus got away to be with the Father. The thought occurred to me that if He didn’t, He too could succumb to mourning all that’s wrong with the world and the people in it. Instead He connected with the Father who helped Him to maintain the correct perspective and to stay in that place of joy.
As He drew near to the Father in prayer, He was reminded of His mission.
And as I draw close to the Lord, I’m reminded of mine—to proclaim truth through what I say, what I write, and how I live, so others will be drawn to Him.
Some days I fail, but then I rejoice in His mercy.
On the days when someone expresses that I haven’t failed or God communicates directly to my soul that He is pleased with my obedience, joy swells inside of me.
The problem is that too often I want the joy in my heart to be triggered by a huge number of positive circumstances. If I’m looking for that to fuel my joy, I become bitterly disappointed.
But if I look to the Lord as the source of my joy, I’m never disappointed. I feel overwhelmed by His love and mercy toward me. I rejoice over how many prayers He has answered instead of focusing on those that still remain unanswered even after many years of praying.
One thing I’ve discovered in this year of learning to trust God more is that I can’t have joy if I’m not trusting Him. Doubt, fear, and worry rob me of joy. Recalling and proclaiming His faithfulness causes joy to well up in my soul. Learning to listen to and embrace His truth and live it instead of embracing the lies of the enemy increases my joy level.
Today instead of thinking of all the losses in my life, I’m going to concentrate on all I’ve gained since the day I became saved in 1977.
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think I’d be alive today if I had not made that decision back then because of my intense battle with depression and suicidal thoughts and the deep bitterness that ruled my life.
So I can have joy that I’m alive, and my life has purpose. My heart can celebrate that God has set me free from all that kept me bound. I have family and friends who love me. I have a job that’s meaningful and rewarding. God has blessed me with a lovely home in a state where I can enjoy the beauty of the beach any time I choose. God has given me the gift of writing and of making music which can not only touch other people’s souls but ministers to mine. And the list goes on and on.
Two verses about joy that came to my mind immediately as I listened to the song “Joy of the Lord” by Rend Collective this morning are these:
“…And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.” Nehemiah 8:10 AMPC
“… in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
Today I choose to bask in the joy of the Lord.
How about you?
“The Joy of the Lord” by Rend Collective