The Search for Joy


“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

Lastnight I found myself in a situation which provoked some rather unpleasant emotions:  anger, fear, frustration, etc.  For a moment I panicked, because I’ve spent months praying for God to restore my joy, and very recently received the answer to that prayer.  And I like the way this renewed joy feels.

So when the tough emotions began to rise up and provoke a struggle within my heart, I asked, “Where’s my joy, God?”  It was an “Oh no – I’ve lost my wallet” kind of moment, which made me realize all over again just how essential joy is to my journey.  Thankfully, a still, small voice whispered an immediate reply:  “It’s still there.”

So I quickly sifted through the “negative” emotions and, sure enough, found my joy still intact – like a firm foundation, unmoved. Then came the quiet revelation:

Joy does not negate the “negative” emotions.  Joy undergirds all.

Because joy is not an emotion.  Joy is a strength.  And joy is a gift.  It won’t always look like an outward form of rejoicing (though sometimes it will, and we ought to seize those moments for sure!), but it will always remain in place, so long as we are rooted in Christ.  It may politely fade to the backdrop in moments when a grief process or a righteous indignation needs to take the spotlight, but it will still be there for us to draw upon when we need it.

I have much to learn about joy still, but what I’ve learned so far is that the only way to get it is to ask, and to believe.  The only way to keep it is to be thankful for it, and to trust that it has irrevocably been given.  And one of the ways to cultivate its fullness is to meditate on God’s Word and on His goodness in our lives.

It is, indeed, sheer gift.  Ever present, and bountiful in measure.  I hope you will reach for your portion in Him today!  And, finding it, I hope you will live in it for the rest of your days!

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