Maintaining a Joyful Heart (In Spite of ...)
Ever wonder how Paul could write a letter (Philippians) dripping with Joy from a Roman jail cell?
Or how David in the midst of being wrongly accused and chased by Saul, dealing with the gravest of sins or being pursued by his own son could write words like:
“You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” Psalm 4:7
Have you wondered how James could call trials “all Joy” in James 1:2?
I know I've been puzzled by the concept of joy in my heart when life is tough.
Yet it must be possible.
Paul wrote - Rejoice (be glad and exceedingly joyful) always. I Thessalonians 5:16
and Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
But when a friend's wife dies or loses his job are our kid's are going through a dark crisis of belief, how do we really rejoice?
What I've learned so far in my life long quest to understand the secrets of a joyful heart is that the IN THE LORD part is the key.
I believe that God wants us to have JOY. Think about it. He's the one that invented sunsets, chocolate pie, wine, sex and puppies.
When we enjoy life, it brings Him great delight.
we enjoy our life moments IN HIM.
God gave us so many, many things to enjoy. However, if we seek after them apart from Him, the very things intended to make us Glad become idols and addictions.
God wants me to:
Rejoice in Him always
However, to do so it is imperative that I hang on for dear life to two unmovable truths in the midst of life's constant changes:
God loves me more that I can ever understand. (Ephesians 3:16 and following)
God wants me to have joy and to enjoy my life as His son.
When I can peer through the ugly, evil, unfair parts of life and send a cord of Hope through to these constant facts, I can make it. Sometimes it feels like a fool's hope, but my heart tells me it's a hope that will not disappoint.
So, we go. Resting and savoring life's moments, not in fear of doom, but In Joy and Hope.
I'm not saying it is easy, but I believe it is possible to:
"Rejoice in the Lord, always and again I say Rejoice."
As much as possible, I'm to remain in the Lord, be aware of His presence always. Remain in His love.