These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, so that your joy might be full.
How often is being hip-hip ‘happy’ mistakenly equated with real joy. Something unpleasant enters our portals and we say, I have lost my joy. A friend upsets us and we complain, you have taken away my joy. How often that inner peace is replaced with turmoil; confusion; frustration. All because we exchanged the joy of the Lord with circumstances and people. Joy is not an airy-fairy feeling that rises and falls with my emotional tides. Joy is a steadfast, permanent resident, when we invite the Lord to lead in all things.
In Nehemiah we read that: the joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my daily strength and stay – but how often the joy that He provides is replaced with failure and defeat. In many places in scripture, joy is expressed is great symphonies of song and we are encouraged to: make a joyful noise – for, my servants shall sing for joy. But deeper and more expressive, spiritual overtones of joy, are also discovered, where Christ demonstrates that: for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross… and He endured the cross so that: no one will take your joy away from you….
And in His approaching moments of acute agony, He reassured His little flock: These things I speak so that they may have My joy in themselves. These astonishing words were spoken at a time of deepest grief and intense loss, but they contained a promise that joy would come in the ‘morning’. Christ establishes here a deep spiritual truth about joy – true joy – inner joy – that even in sorrow, pain, longing, bereavement.. in all things, His joy is secure. His joy remains our strength – as we remain in Him and He in us.
The Word clearly indicates that in all trials and tribulations, disciples have a joy… a compensating, curative, rectifying, restorative, healing joy – a joy which cannot be taken, lost, removed or destroyed – except as we permit. If we reflect back to a hurting world which has only pain and loss, we deny His strength. If I’m to reflect the Lord and win men for Christ – I must not ooze gloaming moans – nor bemoan my little lot, which the Lord has purposed in me to His greater glory. I must refrain from exuding a deep negativity that dismisses Christ in my situation – for a joyless Christian libels His Lord and contradicts His Christ.
Joy is a most precious commodity, which can be retained by prayer and praise. Joy can be encountered in the quiet stillness of the Saviour’s arms amid life’s stresses. Fear for today and worry about tomorrow are two of the greatest enemies of joy, and Satan delights to trip us up with circumstances that encourages such negativity. If we could learn to combine His compassion and empathy for others with His joy… instead of fuelling the fires of their grief with our own mealy-mouthed problems – we would witness to His praise and glory and allow His joy to shine through us. One day may we all hear those precious words: Enter into the joy of your Lord – demonstrating that we have been obedient to our calling and honouring to our Lord.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And know the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
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