If you are going through a difficult time in your life, you may be wondering, "Why?" Questions like, "Why me?" or statements like, "When it rains, it pours" or "It's Murphy's Law" speak to our attempt to make sense of life's challenges. When life is hard, we want to understand why it's hard. We can spend countless hours and experience sleepless nights because we "just don't get it". And, we want to "get it". We want insight and understanding. The reality is, life gets complicated, messy, challenging, and difficult. So, if we can agree that the aforementioned is true of most of us, may I offer another perspective? Could it be that God is up to something greater than what our finite minds can embrace? Could it be that even in the midst of great turmoil, God has given us the capacity and the ability to withstand and overcome any hardship?
As Christians ("like Christ"), God is constantly molding and shaping into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and refining us for his glory (Psalm 66:10-12). It can be a daunting process, but God is a faithful, loving Father. He ensures that we have all that we need to withstand, overcome, and thrive in our walk of faith. One of the things God gives each of us is JOY, one of the Fruits of the Spirit. Joy, a feeling or state of great delight and happiness, is mentioned 165 times in the Bible.
Consider these scriptures on joy:
- Great joy (II Chronicles 30:26)
- Joy of his way (Job 8:19)
- Sing for joy (Job 29:13)
- Fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)
- Shout for joy (Psalm 35:27)
- Reap in joy (Psalm 126:5)
- Joy to the just (Proverbs 21:15)
- Joy of his heart (Ecclesiastes 5:20)
- Joy in harvest (Isaiah 9:3)
- Everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11)
- Oil of joy (Isaiah 61:3)
- Exceeding joy (Matthew 2:10)
- Sorrow turned to joy (John 16:20)
- The God of hope fill you with joy (Romans 15:13)
- Fruit of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22)
- Joy unspeakable (I Peter 1:18)
- God is able to keep you from fallings and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24)
- For we have great joy and consolation (Philemon 7)
- He will joy over thee with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)
We have access to supernatural joy when we stay connected to the Father. Joy enables us to be tenderhearted and kind, hold on to our goals, and to be strong in our endeavors.
God takes no pleasure in seeing his children depressed, worried, scared, envious, bitter, or sad. Those things diminish our light. God cannot be glorified if we are in a state of darkness and spiritual oppression. Therefore, we must make a decision to remain full of joy. When we hold fast to the word of God, we will be empowered to thrive even in less than favorable circumstances--like the Morning Glory flower.